A brother in Nigeria recently asked me this question about Romans 14:5-6. He also asked about a verse in Colossians and about Galatians, since many often use that book as well and twist the scriptures in it to say believers should not keep the law, or the Sabbath. He somehow found me while he was studying out the lunar Sabbath. After studying it out the last few weeks, he’s now convinced of the luni-solar Sabbath, and he’s preparing to introduce it to his lovely bride. Please pray for them.
Let’s take a look at the scriptures he was concerned most about, starting with Galatians 4:
You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! Galatians 4:10
So was Paul talking to gentiles who had forsaken their pagan ways and were now keeping the special day and months and appointed times and years commanded in the law? Was Paul rebuking them for observing the same appointed times that he, Moses, and Yahusha kept? If so, that sure would make Paul quite the pharisee hypocrite, one that Yahusha would have rebuked indeed! Thankfully, that’s not the case, Paul’s not a hypocrite, he wasn’t rebuking the gentiles for keeping the Sabbath he kept.
When examining various scriptures, it’s always important to remember to look at context and the intended audience. Also, it’s good to keep in mind who the writer is and what they’ve taught in the past, other scriptures they’ve contributed to the writings, as well as what they believed, what their own actions were. If Paul did not go around preaching Moses and Yahusha who taught people to obey the commandments, if he did not keep the Sabbath, New Moons, and Feast days, if he did not keep the Nazarite vow at one point in Acts 21, complete with the sacrifice of doves at the Temple, if there were not many, many, scriptures documenting his love for the law, his support of it, his exaltation of it, his obedience to it, I MIGHT believe Paul was teaching against the commandments, as many of the Jewish religious leaders of his time were falsely accusing him of, as they did also to Yahusha.
According to the surrounding statements we find around Galatians 4:10, Paul WAS indeed talking to a gentile audience (lost sheep/lost tribes of the house of Israel), and this audience had repented of their gentile ways and worship of foreign gods that were not the Aluhym of Israel, which they had been raised up in, they had forsaken the pagan feasts affiliated with all that idolatry, and had turned to His commandments and HIS appointed times. IF they hadn’t started observing YHUH’s New Moon days and 7th day Sabbath, they would not have known when to meet Paul and the other Jews and believers in the synagogues to hear Moses! Acts 15:21. Over and over we see in the NT that the gentiles are present in the assemblies and gathering in homes on the Sabbath. Paul was not rebuking them for gathering with him on the Sabbath to hear Moses.
According to the verses before and after Galatians 4:10, they were starting to slip back into their old gentile ways of observing the special times and calendars of the nations and gods they had repented of. Yet, they were still showing up on the Sabbath to hear Moses. Know anybody like that? We do. These people in Galatians 4 are starting to mix what is holy with what is profane. They are straddling the fence, and Paul is essentially doing like Elijah did here with the Baal worshipers, telling them to choose this day whom they will serve. 1 Kings 18:21. Who was Elijah rebuking? He was rebuking Israelites who were dabbling in worship of other gods and mixing, right? These Israelites were putting themselves under the CURSE of the law, rather than the BLESSING of the law, because they spoke of keeping the commandments and worshiping YHUH while at the same time committing idolatry. They were doing the same thing in the Galatian assembly, and Israel today is doing it as well. People who who falsely CLAIM the blood of Yahusha and His commandments are under the curse of the law when they don’t do what they preach, just like the hypocritical leaders in Elijah’s, Yahusha’s, and Paul’s times. Let’s take a look at Galatians 4:10 in context:
Formerly, when you did not know Aluhym, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know Aluhym—or rather are known by Aluhym—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you. Galatians 4:8-11
Let’s start with verse 8. they once did not know YHUH because they were not Israelites who were brought up knowing Him and His commandments. They were brought up in the nations serving other gods and following in the ways of the nations and their gods.
Paul teaches us in other places of the New Testament that breaking the commandments is sin, and sin is bondage, and that Yahusha freed us from that bondage of sin, including the bondage of idolatry and worshipping of other gods. He freed us from the slavery and bondage of sin (breaking His commandments) and made us new creatures who are now willing and able to keep His commandments. We are now creatures who have no will to serve other gods. We are free from all that. We are now bond servants of YHUH, not slaves to foreign gods. He redeemed us from all that. Now we want to serve and obey Him by keeping His commandments, and His yoke is easy and His burden is light. It is not too much for us.
So verses 8 and 9 are telling us they were going back to all they had repented of, and it’s very likely these were special days and months and seasons and years the Jews may also have been doing and teaching these proselyte gentiles, or converts to Torah. Have you noticed the Jews today, the Jewish religious leaders, they claim to keep His commandments, but they do not? They claim to know when to begin the year, the month, they claim to know when the Sabbath is (of course they teach it is Saturday), etc…They teach false appointed times and lead Israel into all kinds of sin and idolatry as the prophets accused them of doing. There is nothing new under the sun, they’ve done this since Aaron and the golden calf when they declared a false appointed time to worship the Baal calf in the wilderness, which some lunar Sabbath keepers follow suit today and claim the day Aaron set up the calf was Pentecost, the same deed as Jeroboam who also set up golden calves and false appointed times in 1 Kings 12:32.
Am I saying the Jews in Paul’s time were trying to convince the Galatians to give up the Sabbath completely and keep the ways of the gentiles instead? No. I’m saying many of them likely mixed. They gathered on the lunar Sabbath to hear Moses, but that doesn’t mean they never celebrated gentile holidays like Christmas and Easter.
Look at how Jews today celebrate Purim, Hanukkah, and many other feasts that are not commanded by YHUH such as the holiday or New Year for trees, Tu BiShevat. The way these days are celebrated are very much like pagan feasts of the gods of the nations. I believe these are the KINDS of things Paul was rebuking, appointed times they observed that were not commanded by YHUH, that even the Jewish religious leaders may have led them into with their traditions of men, born out of mixing with the ways of the nations and how they serve their gods. These “feasts” may have started out with good intentions to celebrate what YHUH has done, but they’ve certainly been corrupted over the centuries. Now we have the Jewish people decorating Hanukkah bushes and mixing the customs of Christmas in with Hanukkah. Purim and other “festivals” like it are not just celebrated by the “devout”, but by even the “secular”, who party and celebrate it much like Halloween or Mardi Gras. I saw one article acknowledging Purim with a photo of a man dressed as a woman downing a keg and quoting scripture and praising “God” while he was doing it. Certainly all this is not how YHUH wants to be worshipped.
I point to the Jewish religious leaders as being the ones who are giving the Galatians these silly ideas to backslide into serving other gods and appointed times because of the rest of the context of Chapter 4 of Galatians, and the whole book of Galatians, where Paul is rebuking the idea of following after the Jews who are telling the gentiles they need to be physically circumcised in order to receive salvation, rather than faith in Messiah. He is rebuking the Judaizers who are teaching gentiles to follow them rather than Messiah and the apostles. He taught that Abraham, the first Hebrew, walked with YHUH for many years before YHUH asked him to be circumcised. YHUH does not expect proselytes or converts to the faith to don all of the commandments at once. Grace covers them/us as we/they learn. True conversion needs to happen before receiving the sign of the covenant, and if they are sliding back into their old ways, there was no true conversion, so they should not be donning the sign of the covenant.
Paul is warning the assembly at Galatians pretty sternly here in verse 10. He’s obviously pretty upset about their behavior about these “special days” they had turned from and were going back to. Why would he be so upset about it? These special days are probably associated with all the idolatry and paganism they came out of. They knew better. They knew it was idolatry. They were not innocent, ignorant Sunday keepers, as I once was, they had repented of their deeds and were now going back to it like a dog returns to its vomit. So what would Paul recommend if they don’t repent of this idolatry? I think he is referring to what should be done in the following verses, specifically, verse 30:
Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. Galatians 4:30
The bondwoman and her son (Hagar and Ishmael) are not the believing Israelite who believes in Yahusha and keeps the law as the church would like us to believe. They would like us to believe that Sarah is the freewoman who cast off the law altogether. No, Sarah is the freewoman who is free from sin, and sin is defined in scripture as breaking the law. She represents the woman at Mt. Sinai who loves the law and desires to stay in the marriage covenant willingly. The bondwoman and her son that need to be cast out are Hagar, the Egyptian, and her son, who were once in the family, who knew YHUH and His Torah, who experienced it, and ultimately decided to reject it all like Esau when faced wth the fact that they can’t serve 2 masters. Paul is comparing those who willingly keep the law in faith in Messiah to Sarah and her son Isaac, the promised seed. The freewoman and her son is the Hebrew and/or gentile who would believe YHUH and love Him and His law. I believe Paul is saying in verse 30 that those who do not repent of these “special” days which were causing division in the assembly and contaminating it with idolatry, that they would be cast out if they did not repent.
See Acts 15:19-21, gentiles start out with the minimum of avoiding idolatry, blood, things strangled, and sexual immorality, and the rest they will learn as they gather to hear Moses every Sabbath day. These are the minimum because these are issues that bring a death penalty if not obeyed, and these sins can contaminate the rest of the assembly. These are sins Paul said required new believers to be put out of the congregation for, such as the man who was guilty of sexual immorality with his father’s wife in 1 Corinthians 5. Paul said this was a sin that did not even exist among the gentiles. This was a burden that was put on the gentiles as well.
They had to recognize the Sabbath in order to know when to hear Moses. These minimum requirements reveal who has a circumcised heart among the gentiles, who has repented and turned to YHUH, they are found in the heart of the Torah, Leviticus 17-19:4.
Circumcision was needed to observe the Passover, to enter the Temple, but was not a salvation issue, for them – yet. Once a proselyte was compelled to keep the Passover, they would learn from Moses that in order to do so, they would need to be circumcised, and so that’s a heart issue, their decision when to take that next step. We can’t put that on them, that’s something YHUH does. Faith comes by hearing the word. If the conviction to do it is not there yet, they should not take the sign of the covenant yet. Conviction to do it must come first, it should not be forced upon them.
Let me address Colossians 2:16-17:
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Messiah.
The New Moons, Sabbath days, and holy days, are all shadows of Messiah. They teach us about Him, His ways, and prepare us for His return. That is how they are a shadow of Him. They are also evidence that He exists, and that His word is true.
When we first started understanding we needed to acknowledge the New Moon and the Sabbath, when the conviction came, our Christian friends would quote these verses to us, thinking these verses are instructing us we shouldn’t be listening to a Messianic Rabbi sharing with us the blessings of honoring the Sabbath. (We don’t follow “rabbis” anymore, as Yahusha is our only rabbi, and we don’t dabble in Messianic Judaism anymore because it promotes traditions from Judaism that leads to rejection of Messiah. It’s leaven he told us to avoid.) Anyway, they understood it to be condemning anyone suggesting people should keep the Sabbaths, New Moons, and Feast days. That did not make any sense to us because Messiah and His disciples and Paul all kept them, and we know we are told in scripture to follow them, to follow their example, to walk as Yahusha walked, to be like Him, who was a Sabbath and Feast keeper.
Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Messiah. 1 Corinthians 11:1
Therefore I urge you to imitate me. 1 Corinthians 4:16
Join one another in following my example, brothers, and carefully observe those who live according to the pattern we set for you. Philippians 3:17
We were of the understanding that if Yahusha and His disciples gathered on the Sabbath with the believers to hear Moses, and they did, then that’s what we should do.
When we would share with them that the Sabbath is not on Sunday, and the pagan origins of holidays like Christmas and Easter, they would also quote Colossians 2:16, thinking that this verse is suggesting nobody should tell them not to keep Sunday or Christmas or Easter. That is SOO not the context of that verse. The intended audience of Colossians was not the Roman Catholic keeping Sunday. The audience of Colossians was Sabbath and Feast Keeping believers. The Gregorian calendar and the Catholic church didn’t even exist yet. Paul’s audience wasn’t the followers of the Pope, but followers of Moses and Yahusha. Paul’s audience was meeting on THE one and only Seventh Day Sabbath – the luni-solar Sabbath – to learn more about Moses:
Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to Aluhym from among the Gentiles, but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.” Acts 15:19-21
We understand Acts 15:19-21 and all of Acts to be saying that physical circumcision is not required for the gentile who is repenting to be able to come hear Moses read on the Sabbath, to learn more about how to keep His commandments. While an uncircumcised male cannot enter the Temple, they can congregate with the Jews in the synagogues in the cities to have fellowship and hear Moses. People who have turned away from idolatry, fornication, blood, and things strangled are not going to contaminate the rest of the dough with leaven. They are clean enough to have fellowship with the Jews and be grafted into Israel. They are proselytes, aka, converts. They have proven they have circumcised hearts by turning away from sins requiring death mentioned in the heart of the Torah found in Lev 17-19:4.
All that said, it is saying not to let anyone who does not keep the Feast days, New Moons, or Sabbaths, to condemn you for keeping them. A believer who condemns you apparently hasn’t received the conviction yet. Just be a light to them in walking out the commandments and maybe they will someday join you. In the meantime, don’t mix with them. Don’t keep the Sabbath and then go with them to church on Sunday. That’s not being a light, that’s mixing light with darkness and that example will not convince them to change. It will be counter-productive.
Most Christians will agree we should keep the 10 commandments, but what about the 4th one? In their mind, they can divorce their spouse for committing adultery, or judge someone for murder or abortion or stealing, but don’t ever judge them for not keeping the Sabbath!!! If that’s not hypocrisy, I don’t know what is!
I remember my Pentecostal pastor, around the time we were starting to learn what the Torah was, he told the church not to vote for someone who does not at least keep the 10 commandments. This was just before the November 2008 election when Obama was elected the first time. I don’t know if that pastor was intending to tell us not to vote, because as far as we knew, none of the candidates kept the Sabbath, the 4th commandment, neither did our church pastor. If Yahusha were here today, I’m certain he’d condemn that as Pharisee type hypocrisy. You can’t condemn someone for not keeping the 10 commandments when you aren’t keeping them all either. We have to remove the log from our own eye before we can help our brother with his splinter. Let’s keep the Sabbath as an example for our brother, so they can see the light of Yahusha in us.
Here’s the last scripture my brother in Nigeria asked me to explain:
One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Master, and he who eats, does so for the Master, for he gives thanks to Aluhym; and he who eats not, for the Master he does not eat, and gives thanks to Aluhym. Romans 14:5-6
When I first came to be a believer, I behaved worse than an unbeliever, I continued in my sin and ignored the Savior’s words. He told me not to be unequally yoked and I acted like He didn’t know what He was talking about. I thought I could save unbelievers by yoking myself in relationships and friendships with them, which meant participating in their evil deeds. He told me to avoid fornication, and I thought I could fornicate in an attempt to bring about a holy union someday. I was confessing belief in Him, yet, I did not believe His words. Did I really believe Him as I claimed? I judged murderers and adulterers when I myself was breaking laws that Acts 15:19-21 says are burdens that should be placed on even the gentiles. I felt guilty for those sins, but I kept doing it hoping it would all just work out the way I planned. I was under condemnation for this sin, because I had a conviction that it was wrong, but I ignored the holy spirit, and continued to lie to myself. YHUH was gracious, He gave me more time to repent. He didn’t have to, I deserved to die, but He knew He was going to cause things to happen that would bring about a change of heart.
There was a moment the switch flipped, when I hit my personal rock bottom, and I was able to see how disgusting I was, how I needed His blood more than ever. I saw how my sin had gotten me into a very sticky web and I was about to be devoured if I didn’t do something different than I had been doing. At that moment, I turned away from fornication. I was now no longer under condemnation for this sin, because I chose not to continue in it.
Avoiding idolatry was not put on my heart yet, maybe because I did not yet understand how I was participating in it. I had no idea of the origins of Christmas and Easter and Sunday, and their links to paganism that has led believers into idolatry. People who were anti-Bible, anti-Messiah, had tried to tell me that it was not biblical, and that it was hypocrisy to celebrate these things, that it was idolatry, yet, I thought they were just telling me that because they wanted me to reject the Bible and Messiah. I thought to turn away from Sunday and Easter and Christmas was to reject His birth and resurrection, because I truly believed the Bible taught He was born and resurrected on these days. I genuinely THOUGHT I was following my Savior, when I was actually following the doctrines of my pastor, my church, my family, and the “secular” world. It never dawned on me that He did not command Easter or Christmas or change the Sabbath laws, as I was taught. I would dismiss it and rebuke any temptation to look it up and see if what the unbelievers were saying was true about the origins of these celebrations being from paganism. It took another believer, a relative I knew had good intentions, coming along later telling me why there was nothing holy about these “holi” days before I would even consider that it might be wrong to observe them. In our hearts and minds, we were observing these days for YHUH. He knows that. We had no idea He hated it, though. Once we became aware that He hated it, we turned from it.
I was totally blind to all the idol worship in our culture, in this world. I don’t think we were yet under condemnation for this sin, as we were totally ignorant about it, we were blinded. We were deceived. A few years later, however, YHUH started using several people to start speaking to us about how elevating these days is wrong, and how these do have pagan origins and how their customs involve idolatry. Once we had knowledge of this, we were responsible to turn away from it. If we chose to remain in it knowing it was idolatry, THEN we’d be in condemnation for it, but up to that point, we’d kept Sunday, Christmas, and Easter, totally believing we were doing it for Yahusha. Once we were informed of the error in those Christian traditions, we turned instead to days that we were told were more biblical, days Judaism promoted, only to discover 5 years later that they were not commanded in the law, either. We kept Saturday and days like Thanksgiving, New Year’s, etc…thinking it was all for Yahusha, until revelation came that these were not days to elevate at all. If I were to observe these days, the way the ignorant gentiles do, knowing what I know now, it would be a sin to me. For new believers in Messiah, YHUH gives them time to learn about the errors in their ways before requiring them to repent. I’m not saying it’s okay for people to ignore the Spirit as I once did, and quote scriptures and make excuses to buy them time about how “we are all sinners” and “we are all still learning”. Yes, we are all learning, but once one knows what’s wrong, they need to stay away from it, to do otherwise would be to be worse than an unbeliever.
At the same time, we have to keep in mind that not every seed we plant is received, and not necessarily because the ground/heart is not good, and not that it’s stony ground determined to reject good seed, but because the ground has not been cultivated enough yet for it to be able to receive the seed. We have to remember the enemy weaves quite the web of deception, layers and layers, and it may take some time to get those roots out. Give scripture time to renew the mind.
When we try to share with people, keep in mind that the enemy will try to keep that person in deception and may actually twist scripture to convince them they should not give you an ear. They may actually cling to their traditions believing that’s what Messiah would want them to do. The enemy will try to convince you to avoid the topic with them in the future. Bring it up again when you have the opportunity, but don’t sow the seed without first cultivating the soil. That means you may have to educate them and explain with scripture, as faith comes by hearing the word of YHUH, not history books and opinions of men.
However, if they hold an offense against you, no matter how many times you apologize, no matter how many ways you show them you regret something you did in the past, they will probably remain convinced you are a wolf who is out to get them and won’t be the least bit interested in ANYTHING you have to say. If they ask questions, answer, if they don’t, test the waters, if they just come at you trying to educate you in a judgmental fashion, refusing to answer your questions, refusing to give witnesses from scripture without twisting them or contradicting other scriptures, use the sword, the word, against them to defend your faith, because that’s not the heart of a teacher, that’s a deceiver. A true disciple of Yahusha will take the time to provide scriptures and will attempt to reason and explain the scriptures in such a way that they will come into agreement and not require you to throw out or ignore any scriptures. They will ask you questions trying to understand why you believe what you believe, so that if they perceive an area where there is misunderstanding, they can provide you with scriptures to realign your faith with what is written.
Remember, there is safety in many counselors, and each doctrine in scripture is supported with other scriptures. Every time someone asks you to throw out a scripture, or a whole book, they are asking you to build a house with less stability. To accept one testimony from a witness and ignore another is not sound. Either the witness is believable or not. Either throw it all out or cling to all of it. Either the writer of the book or scroll deserves to die for blasphemy or they are a true prophet. It can’t be both.
The fact is, we don’t know the motives of others. Only YHUH knows their hearts. He knows if they truly believe they aren’t supposed to keep a Sabbath, or if they truly believe Saturday is the Sabbath, or if they truly believe Sunday is the day they should rest. I once, as a believer trying to obey Him, believed Sunday was the most important day of the week and began to turn down invitations to lunch after church not wanting to pay people to serve me on that day, and I once, as a believer, trying to obey Him, kept Saturday believing that was His Sabbath day. I can’t judge anyone, or condemn anyone, for doing what they believe to be right. I can, however, educate those who’s ears YHUH is opening. I can share scriptures with them to show them how we’ve been deceived, so that their convictions can change as YHUH leads them through His word and with His Spirit, into all truth. Does that mean I can go to church with them on Sunday and encourage the preacher to keep preaching when he’s lying to them? No. We do what YHUH has revealed to us (observe the Sabbath rather than other days and come out of Babylon) and wait for YHUH to bring people to us or send us to people who are either ready to repent or ready to receive a witness against them FROM YHUH, meaning we will share the scriptures about it with them and YHUH will deal with them, not us, and HE determines how long they have to repent, not us.
It may take time for your spouse, family member, or friend to come around, but be a light by walking out your own convictions and being blameless in their sight. Explain to them how the scriptures never contradict, that the scriptures won’t say the moon is for appointed times, and the Sabbath not be included in that rule, and explain that YHUH would not forget to leave us a scripture to inform us that there was an exception to that rule if there was one. Give them time to consider all the scriptures and remember that some people take longer to be convinced and convicted of certain things than other people. I’ve seen some people reject it only to be rebuked by YHUH later and repent and keep the lunar Sabbath. Don’t FORCE them to keep the lunar Sabbath if they are convicted they must keep another day, not even your wife, because Roman’s says:
But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin. Romans 14:23
Of course, for the Jews in the Old Testament, in the land, after they were taught the law by YHUH in the wilderness, they had to force everyone to keep the Sabbath. If we tried to keep that today, we’d all have to stone ourselves, because we’ve all broken the commandment, because none of us were raised up in the lunar Sabbath. That was true for the gentile of Paul’s time as well. There was more grace for them because they needed time to learn the law. YHUH does not expect them/us to understand and do all of the law overnight, or else He would have put physical circumcision on Abraham before He accepted him, before He called him out of the land of the Chaldeans, and out of his father’s house, to the land.
Because we love our friends and family so much, it can very tempting to rush people into accepting our own convictions on the Sabbath. We know time is coming to a close and we care about their salvation, but at the same time we have to be patient and have the peace to know that YHUH will not allow a single kernel of grain fall to the ground from His hand. If they are chosen by Him to receive the revelation of the luni-solar Sabbath, He will finish the work He has started in them when He gave them the conviction to keep the Sabbath. I confess that I’ve not been patient with some people in this area in the past. I can be patient with people on the other side of the world I’ve never met but I know I have offended some of the people I’ve loved the most over this issue. In some cases it was an offense that’s prevented me from having any weight in biblical conversations with them, so learn from my mistakes.
Remember that Paul tells the Gentiles in 1 Corinthians 7 not to leave an unbelieving spouse, that you don’t know whether they will be saved. It also says an unbelieving spouse and your children are made holy by the believing spouse. If that’s true of an unbelieving spouse, how much more it would be true for a believing spouse who has only been deceived about which day the Sabbath is?!
I think you can probably understand how this same principle would apply to what people do or do not eat or drink. We do know for sure that Acts 15:19-21 is clear that even the gentiles are to be burdened with abstaining from blood, so let’s be clear there’s no question in these verses about that! It’s speaking of food and drink – not blood! Even the gentiles are expected to know that blood is not acceptable food or drink! The reason why is that drinking blood is a practice of satan worshipers and pagan worship. YHUH says not to consume it because life is in the blood. Satan worshippers deliberately disobey this command due to their belief that consuming blood of people or animals gives them power, but not only that, Satan worshippers LOVE to disobey even the most important of His commandments, commandments about life and death.
Here are some other things Paul said earlier in the letter to the Romans that really drives it home that Paul was not saying we can ignore the law, but that it’s better for the gentile who is ignorant of the law at first, who is careful not to transgress their own conscience concerning what they DO know, than the Jew who knows the law, and then breaks it. He’s also addressing how we can’t keep the law without Messiah, and how faith in Messiah causes us to stop sinning, which means to stop breaking His commandments:
Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? Great in every respect. Romans 3:1
Do we then make void the law through faith? Aluhym forbid: yea, we establish the law. Romans 3:31
My NLT words Romans 3:31 in a simpler way: Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law.
…Well, we have been saying that Abraham was counted as righteous by Aluhym because of his faith. But how did this happen? Was he counted as righteous only after he was circumcised, or was it before he was circumcised? Clearly, Aluhym accepted Abraham before he was circumcised! Circumcision was a sign that Abraham already had faith and that Aluhym had already accepted him and declared him to be righteous—even before he was circumcised. So Abraham is the spiritual father of those who have faith but have not been circumcised. They are counted as righteous because of their faith. And Abraham is also the spiritual father of those who have been circumcised, but only if they have the same kind of faith Abraham had before he was circumcised. Romans 4:9-12
Scripture says that the Sabbath is a sign for Israel that they are in covenant with Him:
Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days YHUH made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed. Exodus 31:16-17
Just as circumcision was a physical sign that they were in covenant with Him, just as we receive faith first, like Abraham, just as physical circumcision is a sign that came on Abraham LATER as a sign of the faith he had ALREADY received YEARS beforehand, so also the Sabbath is a sign that comes on us at some point, after receiving faith, sometimes many years later. You and I were in covenant with YHUH and accepted by Him long before we accepted this SIGN of His covenant – the Sabbath, because we were ignorant and YHUH had not yet revealed it to us. He may decide to keep them blinded even after you explain it to them. Remember, patience is a fruit of the Spirit, be patient for Him to reveal it to them.
I’ve learned and been reminded of much as I reread Colossians, Galatians, and Romans. in preparing to give an answer…It very much helps to read it all through to get the full testimony of what’s being said…
Shalom in Messiah Yahusha, Lyndsey Sanchez