Moses’ Swan Song

Today’s taste of Torah is the Mosaic Swan Song. Now Moses was not a one hit wonder. He wrote at least three hit songs. One was sung after the crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus 15). Another one is recorded in Psalm 90. And the one before us now, in Deuteronomy chapter 32, was written in the last days of his life. In fact, the same day that Israel learned this particular Song of Moses, God directed Moses to climb Mt. Nebo, where he would be laid to rest (vv. 48–50). This is why attaching the adjective swan to this Mosaic song is a good fit.

The song begins with a universal call to listen. And the first word in the Hebrew text of Deuteronomy 32:1 literally means to “give ear.” In the midrashic literature that corresponds to this passage, it’s stated that the ear gives life to the body. And this life to the body is said to come from listening to Torah; an idea that’s repeated in Romans 10:17 where it says,“Faith comes from listening to the Word of God.”

Also, this song is a theocentric tune. Its subject is the person of God. Its theme is the faithfulness of God. And its purpose was to encourage Israel to remember the greatness of God. Essentially it highlights the contrast between divine covenantal love and loyalty and human covenantal disloyalty and perversity. Again, the major theme we see here is God’s faithfulness. He is called “the Rock” four times in this song (vv. 18, 30–31). Even as God’s people are rebelliously acting out, God remains their steadfast, unchanging source of salvation.

So after reciting the history of Israel from their time of bondage in Egypt, through their wilderness wanderings, to their established place in the Promised Land (vv. 7–14), the song becomes prophetic. Israel’s future ingratitude and idolatry is predicted, as well as the judgments of God for their sin (vv. 15–31). But then God promises to avenge Israel against their enemies, who are also the Lord’s enemies. He demonstrates compassion toward His covenant people (vv. 32–42). And lastly, the song ends on a joyful note. God’s punishment is past, righteousness is restored, and the land of Israel is cleansed (v. 43).

Now the portion of the portion I want to briefly highlight, are the very last words of the song in verse 43. “Rejoice, O nations, with His people; For He will avenge the blood of His servants, And will render vengeance on His adversaries, And will atone for His land and His people.”

This prophetic promise that God will make atonement for His Land and His people is an eschatological Grand Slam for two reasons: 1) Future Land atonement means literal and full realization of all the promises associated with the Land Covenant (cf. Deut. 29:1-30:20). 2) Future corporate Jewish atonement means literal and full realization of all the promises associated with the New Covenant (cf. Jer. 31:31-34).

Right here and right now here’s the application for us: This song teaches that when we forget God’s gracious goodness to us, and when we turn away from Him to follow idols, (which can be anything that causes us not to give proper priority attention to God), like Old Covenant Israel, we can expect divine discipline.

So here’s the deal: When God appears to withdraw His blessings, we should not question His ability, His motives, or His character; but rather we should examine the state of our relationship with Him; particularly during this current period of time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur known as the Days of Awe or the Days of Repentance.   And that’s not just a swan song, that’s a song we should sing during all the seasons of our life!


Future “Mystery” History

In the Hebrew Scriptures the word shemitah (shmee-tah) appears twice; once in Deuteronomy 15:1 and once in Deuteronomy 15:2. It literally means “release” (ESV).  And these two verses begin a section in Deuteronomy dealing with Mosaic Covenant Laws regulating proper observance of the Sabbatical Year (15:1-18). The Sabbatical year was the seventh year of the seven-year agricultural cycle mandated by the Mosaic Covenant that structured community life in the Promised Land of Israel. According then to Deuteronomy 15:2, the concept of release in this context is release in the sense of remission or cancellation of monetary or physical property debt. The other required aspect of the Sabbatical Year was a year-long cessation of all organized farming of the Land (Lev. 25:3-4).

There is no biblical support whatsoever for the idea that God would require any other nation to observe the Sabbatical year or that He would impose a Sabbatical-type judgment according to a seven-year cycle on any other nation. This means that the foundational premise of Jonathan Cahn’s book The Mystery of the Shemitah that God has brought warnings and judgment against the United States according to a seven-year cycle going back many decades is biblically flawed from the outset. And, as the author of the following recommended review points out; “…none of the overwhelming number of assertions and fact-claims throughout the book concerning economic trends, financial statistics and historical events are documented whatsoever”

As a minister of the gospel seeking to inform the church at large of the missiological and eschatological significance of the Scripture’s inherent Jewish frame of reference, I find Cahn’s irresponsible eisegesis in The Mystery of the Shemitah offensive.  I also suspect that its highly marketable scenario may actually divert people’s attention away from the church’s task and responsibility of Jewish evangelism (cf. Rom. 1:16; 11:11).  Plus, the fact that his book is currently the #1 Best Seller in Amazon’s “Christian Prophecy” category speaks volumes about the woeful lack of doctrinal discernment and grasp of even the most rudimentary principles of biblical hermeneutics rampant in contemporary evangelicalism.

The truth is, in a North American context, in order for a work on bible prophecy to have mass appeal its central thesis has to somehow involve the U.S. because our natural tendency is to assume that it’s all about US! Nevertheless, in the big and genuine prophetic picture of things, Cahn’s popularity is just the latest in a long line of marketing flashes in the pan. And after its buzz has lost its steam, it will be discarded on the trash heap of the other unfounded, sensationalistic, and financially lucrative speculations that have come before it. I’m not advocating a minimalist approach to eschatology. I’m simply saying we shouldn’t extrapolate beyond the intended meaning of the inspired prophetic biblical text.

Bottom line, we don’t have to unravel so-called mysteries to know what’s coming around the bend. In His inerrant Word, God has already given us the beginning, middle, and end of the story. And truly that’s more than enough for all things pertaining to life and godliness (cf. 2 Peter 1:3).

Still Standing

The 2014 Torah Train is nearing the end of the line. Today’s Shabbat stop is Deuteronomy 29:9 thru 31:30. The traditional title of this parshah is nitzavim (nitz-a-veem). Nitzavim is the second word in the Hebrew text of Deuteronomy 29:9. It means to stand. And in the immediate context of Deuteronomy 29:9 nitzavim refers to numerous individuals physically standing as Moses calls the entire community of Israelites together for a final exhortation to obey their law centered covenant with God.

Nitzavim is derived from the verb natzav (nat-zav) which means to stand upright, or to be established as a pillar. And in relation to the broader context of the Land Covenant within Deuteronomy (29:1-30:20); nitzavim also communicates strength in the sense of a powerful stance. The idea here is that even though Moses prophetically spoke of Israel’s coming disobedience to the Mosaic Law and subsequent worldwide dispersion (29:2–30:1), all remaining provisions of the Land Covenant speak of various facets of Israel’s final restoration (30:2-8). And so in that final restored sense, Israel will stand because the Land Covenant is the outworking of the Land aspect of the overarching Abrahamic covenant (cf. Gen. 15:18-21; 17:8); a covenant that teaches that Israel’s ownership of the Land is unconditional while the Land Covenant teaches that the enjoyment of the Land is conditioned on obedience; obedience that will result from the Land Covenant’s provision of regeneration – spiritual death replaced by spiritual life (Deut. 30:6)!

Today’s portion of the portion is Deuteronomy 31:7-8. 7 Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land that the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall put them in possession of it. 8 It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

Here, Moses is presenting Joshua to the nation as God’s chosen leader who would soon take over the leadership of Israel. After telling the people in the preceding verse (v. 6) not to be fearful, Moses also instructs Joshua to trust God when the Israelites step out in faith to enter the Land of Canaan with the assurance of the LORD’s promises, presence, and power.

However, there’s another divine P word in play here, God’s protection. And at this point in Israel’s history the provision of God’s protection is conditional. Failure to comply with God’s instructions for life in the Land results in God’s judgment outside the Land. And again, on the other side of this real-time realization of future judgment (Deut. 29:1-30:20); there’s also provisions for not yet fully realized restoration (Deut. 30:2-8). God has not, and will not, forsake national ethnic Israel, the Jewish people.

And, with regard to one day fully realizing the totality of spiritual salvation, God has not, and will not, forsake New Covenant followers of Messiah. Writing to Jewish believers who were experiencing persecution and had special material needs in their lives; the author of Hebrews uses some of the very words that God spoke to Joshua; Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you. Therefore, we may boldly say: The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me (Heb. 13: 5-6)?

Greed can easily pull us away from a life of faithful discipleship. With regard to material wealth, we need to have a mature attitude that says, “My net worth doesn’t determine my self-worth.” Our level of contentment doesn’t have a thing to do with how much money we have, though our culture regurgitates that mantra ad infinitum ad nauseum. We have the Lord, and He’s more than enough (cf. Luke 12:15; Phil. 4:11; 1 Tim. 6:6-10). Plus, He has promised to never- ever-sever His relationship with us (Matt. 28:20).

Like Old Covenant Israel, if we choose to do life outside the protective parameters of God’s will, we set ourselves up to experience serious temporal consequences as a result of our disobedience. It’s foolish to presume that the grace of God is like a Get Out Of Jail Free Card in a cosmic Monopoly game void of any meaningful degree of personal responsibility and moral accountability. And yet solely because of the grace of God, if one is truly trusting in Messiah alone for the forgiveness of sin and eternal life He freely offers, like Old Covenant Israel, we too have promised provisions for final restoration. And in that sense, regardless of how this present life plays out, in the life to come we are more, infinitely more, than merely still standing!

Conditional Conditions

In the Diaspora, (Jewish people living outside the Land of Israel), today’s Torah portion is Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8. The title of this Parshah is taken from the second and third words in the first sentence of the Hebrew text in this section. These words are Ki Tavo (key- ta-vo), which means when you (singular) come in. The “you” here is each individual entering the Land. And so the ceremonies Moses is about to institute, and the principles concerning blessing and cursing he’s about to lay out, applies to every single person going into the Land. The purpose of the ceremonies is to celebrate Israel’s initial possession and continued enjoyment of their Promised Land, while the blessings and curses serve as a foundation for understanding why Israel’s future in the Land will play out the way it does.

Building on this critical theme of blessing and cursing, our portion of the portion today is the bottom line cause and effect covenant dynamic at work here. Deuteronomy 28:1-2 reads, “Now if you faithfully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all His commands I am giving you today, the Lord your God will put you far above all the nations of the earth. 2 All these blessings will come and overtake you, because you obey the Lord your God: And verse 15 in this same chapter says, “But if you do not obey the Lord your God by carefully following all His commands and statutes I am giving you today, all these curses will come and overtake you:

Moses begins by positively by holding out blessings as encouragements to live in obedience to the covenant relationship God had established. And the greatest blessing stated here is that Israel could become the most exalted of all nations on the earth. The condition for this blessing was obedience to the Word of Yahweh. In fact this condition was so important, Moses stated it three times in this section; at the beginning (v. 1), the middle (v. 9), and the end (vv. 13-14); and he says it, in both positive and negative terms.

Next beginning in verse 15, Moses identifies about four times as many curses than the number of blessings he just listed in verses 1-14. This curses section extends to end of chapter 28 and it can be divided it into five sections of increasingly severe disciplinary measures. This is Moses’ farewell speech so he’s letting it fly.

Here’s the big-picture breakdown: 1st Moses explains the various forms in which Israel would suffer punishment (vv. 20-24).  2nd Israel would suffer physical distresses, and her enemies would plunder and oppress her (vv. 26-37).  3rd Moses saw Israel’s potential fate as rejection by God from covenant fellowship but not covenant partnership (vv. 38-46).  4th Israel is invaded, conquered, and brutalized by her enemies (vv. 47-57).  And 5th Israel is deprived of all the benefits she had formerly enjoyed (cf. 6:21-23; 26:5-9).  Here, this 28th chapter of Deuteronomy closes with disease and disasters in the Land (vv. 58-63), and deportation from the Land (vv. 64-68). And both those conditions, within the Land and outside the Land, picture a one hundred and eighty degree reversal of the Exodus blessings Israel enjoyed.

Now another point we need to factor into the mix is this: While it’s true that Israel would and did experience devastating consequences for disobeying the revealed will of God, on the other side of the shekel, it’s also true that these sufferings have often been intensified by vicious expressions of anti-Semitism. And here’s the thing, the Gentile nations guilty of these vicious expressions of anti-Semitism, went way too far, and continue to go way too far in their role of unknowingly serving as the human vehicle for divine judgment; in other words, their just acting out on their inherent Adamic depravity. And God is angry at those nations. And he will hold them fully accountable for all their actions. Which also indicates that God only knows where what He directly causes to happen and what He consciously allows to happen exactly begins and ends; in other words the relationship between Divine sovereignty and human responsibility. But’s that’s the subject of another Parshah, or actually another yearly cycle of Parshah’s. Oy!

Anyway, let me suggest this take away principle to live by with respect to this topic of blessings and curses. We must differentiate between what God has promised to Israel as a nation and what He has promised to His new covenant community, the church. The specific curses directed upon Israel for disobeying God’s Mosaic Laws are not repeated for New Testament believers. As we see in the context of the Torah portion today, if Israel disobeyed God, they would suffer judgment and ultimately be scattered to the ends of the earth. But now, in contrast to that, God promises He will never forsake His children. His grace will always be sufficient, no matter what happens in our lives (cf. Phil. 4:19).

But again, on the other side of the shekel, God has never promised us health and wealth—something both unbelievers and believers may enjoy because of what is commonly called common grace. Yeshua taught that, “God causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Mt. 5: 45). Yes, we are to pray for one another that our heavenly Father will meet our physical needs. But it is not always God’s will that His children be materially wealthy and physically healthy. When prosperity teachers say that, that theology is based almost entirely on promises to Israel in the Hebrew Scriptures. And you know what, as far we’re concerned, that Mosaic ship sailed a long time ago because today there’s no functioning Jerusalem Temple, no operative Levitical priesthood, and no yearly Day of Atonement sacrifice. The person and work of Jesus of Nazareth is the prophetic messianic fulfillment and spiritual embodiment of everything those defining Jewish institutions foreshadowed.

You know this whole prosperity business is really a critical issue; because what often happens to people who base their financial giving on a theology of prosperity and then experience economic failure and serious health issues is that they become emotionally devastated, sometimes even to the point of renouncing their faith.

So for New Covenant believers here’s the deal; even though we’re not under the curses outlined for disobedience to the Mosaic Law, God still disciplines believers who consistently walk out of His will. His correction in our lives is a means to draw us back into the will of God. And that’s a conditional condition that we should all strive for!

Premeditated 9/11 Free Style

The Gravity of Depravity Caused Planes to Crash
Divine Image Bearers on the Heap of Jihadist Trash

Rejection of the One Who Became Our Leaven
Meant No Possibility of the Perpetrators Entering Heaven

Sacrificing Themselves on the Altar of Demonic Hate
Only Served to Seal Their Irreversible Fate

Courageous Heroism Helped Victims to Cope
Brought People Together and Engendered Hope

But Prior to this Day of Accountability and Mysterious Decree
New Eyes Were Given Through Which I Was Abe to See,
The Spiritual Terrorism Lodged Inside Me

Lost Count of How Many Times I’ve Prayed This Before
Yet Need to Do it Again Once More

Moving Forward From This Self- Awareness of Sin
Help Me Live As One New from Within

Autumn Train to Messianic Reign: Removal

On the Gregorian calendar we use to keep track of days and dates, Summer 2014 is almost over. On the Biblical Feast Day/Israel Life-Cycle calendar (Lev. 23:4-44) from which God speaks of past and future events, the Autumn Train to the Messianic Reign is about to leave the station. This means that the prophetic fulfillment of all that is associated with the Jewish High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot, should increase our confidence that Messiah will return soon. This also means that Messiah’s imminent return should be the overriding factor that determines our present priorities.

The first eschatological stop on the Autumn Train to the Messianic Reign is Rosh Hashanah. And the key word here is removal. And the reason the key word is removal, is because the prophetic fulfillment of Rosh Hashanah is the removal of the universal body of Messiah from the world. This is when the Bridegroom comes for His Bride the Church to take her where He is. The popular name for this event is The Rapture.

The term Rosh Hashanah means the head or the beginning of the Jewish New Year which falls on the Hebrew month of Tishri (September-October). This idea of the New Year being in the early fall developed when the Jewish people came out of the Babylonian captivity. That’s when the Babylonian Civil New Year was adopted. And the name of the month, Tishri, is actually a Babylonian word meaning “beginning.”

Now what is traditionally called Rosh Hashanah in the Jewish world is also called Yom Ha Teruah in the Hebrew Scriptures (Num. 29:1);  which means the Day of the Blowing of Trumpets. And trumpets are prophetically significant (cf. Isa. 27:13). In fact, I think there’s a discernable connection between the blowing of a specific trumpet on Rosh Hashanah and the Rapture.

In 1 Corinthians, Paul clearly teaches that there’s an inseparable link between New Testament truth and Israel’s seven holy observances listed in Leviticus 23. For example, in 1 Corinthians 5:6–8 Paul associated Messiah’s death and the sinlessness of His blood offering with Israel’s Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread. And in 1 Corinthians 15:20–24, he tied Messiah’s resurrection to the Feast of Firstfruits. And so based on this precedent and pattern, I take it that in 1 Corinthians 15:50–58; (a passage that deals with the details of the Rapture and the role that a trumpet will play in that), Paul connects the Rapture of the Church to the Feast of Trumpets.

But first, a little bit of background. Because of sin, we are living under a sentence of death which means that our physical bodies are subject to mortality and decay (cf. Rom. 5:12-14). That kind of body cannot enter into Heaven. A change is necessary, either by means of resurrection or by means of transformation before our bodies can enter into Heaven.The problem of decay that keeps the bodies of dead believers out of Heaven will be solved through resurrection; and the result of that will be a body that is not subject to decay, a body that is imperishable. And the problem of mortality that keeps living believers out of Heaven will be solved by transformation; and the result of that will be a glorified state that possesses immortality (1 Cor. 15: 53).

So when does this happen? In verse 52 of 1 Corinthians 15, Paul says it happens, “…at the last trumpet.” So what’s the last trumpet? I’m convinced that given the associations Paul is making in 1 Corinthians between New Testament redemptive truths and the Feasts of Israel, the last trumpet spoke of here is the tekiah gedolah of Rosh Hashanah. I’m saying that the “last trumpet” here refers to the Feast of Trumpets and the Jewish practice of blowing trumpets at this feast each year.

During this ceremony, there is a series of short trumpet blasts of various lengths, concluding with the longest blast of all, the tekiah gedolah; which again is the great or the last trumpet. And interestingly, first century Jewish religious thought connected this last trumpet with the bodily resurrection of the dead. And so I think under the inspiration of the Spirit, Paul is doing the same thing here in 1 Corinthians 15. He’s saying in effect that the Rapture will be the fulfillment of Rosh Hashanah, the Feast of Trumpets.

Now lest I be accused of being a date-setter or the son of a date-setter, (I’m actually the son of a dentist); please hear me when I say I am not, in any way, shape, or form, suggesting that the Rapture will definitely take place on the specific calendar date of Rosh Hashanah; which by the way this year is September 25. I’m simply saying that the Rapture event itself, whenever God wills that to happen, is the prophetic fulfillment of Rosh Hashanah. It’s about the event, not the date. Date setting is inappropriate because the Rapture is not a dateable event. The precise time of its occurrence is only known by one Person, God the Father. It’s not known by angels, nor was it even known by the Son in His humanity, but only by God the Father. And so the best we can do is look for Scriptural clues that address the timing of the Rapture in a broad general way. And while that may not provide as much specificity as we might like, I do think we’re told enough to conclude that the Rapture will occur sometime before the Tribulation. In fact, from the vantage point of the Feasts of Israel, I think one can actually make a compelling argument for the pre-tribulational position.

The prophetic fulfillment of Israel’s “appointed times/holy assemblies” (Lev. 23:2), takes place in the order in which those observances occur. The Feast of Trumpets occurs before Yom Kippur the Day of Atonement, Israel’s day of affliction of soul and national atonement. And in keeping with that defining theme, the Day of Atonement will be fulfilled by the seven years of Tribulation, during which Israel will suffer affliction leading to her national repentance and restoration. On the basis then of this Tribulation fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, I conclude that since the Feast of Trumpets occurs before the Day of Atonement, and since the Feast of Trumpets will be fulfilled by the Rapture of the Church, the Rapture of the Church will occur before the seven-year Tribulation period.

We live in a day when the doctrine of the Rapture is often misunderstood, marginalized, or denied altogether. But that doesn’t change the fact that the Rapture is a consistent theme throughout the New Covenant with a powerful moral impact upon the lives of both believer’s and seekers. Biblically speaking, it’s presented as an ever present reality which could happen at any moment.

So here’s the deal; since no one knows the exact time of this future blowing of the last trumpet, the tekiah gedolah of Rosh Hashanah; we should be motivated and even passionate about investing our limited amount of time, energy, and resources into pursuits that truly have eternal significance and value. We need to leave the trivial and embrace the transcendent.

Lastly, regardless of where one lands on the specific timing of the Rapture event; the Lord’s impending removal of us should lead to our continual removal of personal sin as an obedient expression of our love and devotion to Him.

Legal Curse Reverse

This week’s Parshah (Torah portion), is Deuteronomy 21:10 –25:19. It’s a section designated by the combining of two Hebrew words at the beginning of Deuteronomy 21:10. The particle and verb attached to each other is ki teitzei (key – tay – zay) which means, “when you go out.” And because Moses is concerned here with the conquest of the Promised Land, in this context when he speaks of going out, he’s referring to when the Israelites go out to engage their enemies in battle. And so in view of their impending possession of the Land on the other side of these battles, Moses provides specific laws and instructions to regulate civil life in Israel; laws intended to build a just and fair community of people who would not only be concerned with their own well-being, but also concerned with the well-being of others. God wanted His covenant people to demonstrate mercy and kindness to everyone, especially those who were powerless, helpless or oppressed; people like female captives of war, strangers and foreigners, destitute laborers, refugee slaves, and the poorest of society—orphans and widows. Exhibiting this kind of conduct was considered an act of holiness because it revealed to the outside world the goodness of the God of Israel.

Now the portion within this portion I’ve chosen to focus on is Deuteronomy 21:22-23. It reads, 22 If a person commits a sin punishable by death and is executed, and you hang the corpse on a tree, 23 his body must not remain all night on the tree; instead you must make certain you bury him that same day, for the one who is left exposed on a tree is cursed by God. You must not defile your land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.

Hanging by the neck was not a form of execution that was practiced in ancient Israel. The normal method of public execution prescribed in Israel was stoning. And after an executed criminal died, sometimes their executioners impaled their bodies for all to see as a deterrent to similar crimes (cf. 1 Sam. 31:9-13). So Moses is looking beyond an execution to the public proclamation of the satisfaction of justice. And according to the law given here in Deuteronomy, those responsible for the public display of an executed individual had to bury the body the same day as the execution to avoid defiling the land further because of death (cf. Num. 35:33-34; Lev. 18:24-27).

It also needs to be stressed that the displaying or hanging of a deceased body wasn’t the cause of God’s curse it was the result of God’s curse. Under the Mosaic Law, this gruesome display was the fate of criminals whom God had cursed. And again the reason for the curse is that the law itself pronounced a curse on the law-breaker. God did not curse law-breakers because they hung on a tree, law-breakers hung on a tree because God had cursed them for breaking the law.

This is the background behind Paul’s statement in Galatians 3:13 that, Messiah redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (because it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”).

Even though Jesus had every right to live because He kept the Law perfectly, He was the substitutionary representative for all who had violated the Law. He took on the penalty of the Law and suffered its punitive death sentence. And in the context of Galatians 3, the beneficiaries of Messiah becoming a curse in this way were Jewish believers formerly under the authority and accountability of the Mosaic Law.

Now in 1 Peter 2:24, Peter uses this same term “tree” to speak of the Roman execution stake that Jesus suffered on (cf. Acts 5:30; 10:39). And in the second part of this verse, one of the reasons for His Messianic suffering is given. It says; He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we may cease from sinning and live for righteousness.

Yeshua’s death enabled us to be separated from our sins. This means that as a result of Messiah dying for our sin condition and our sin actions, we can now live for the purpose of doing righteousness instead of living for the purpose of doing unrighteousness (cf. Rom. 6:1-11). The idea here is that Messiah having died for our sin (singular), and our sins (plural), as our substitute; gives us a standing before God where we have no more connection with our old sins, or with our former life of sinning. Now obviously, not until the final glorification stage of our salvation will we ever be sinless; but, until then, God’s divine power has presently given us everything we need to sin less (cf. 2 Pet. 1:3)! So now, the irreducible minimum of our sanctification journey is aligning our behavioral practice with our spiritual position through cooperation with and dependence upon the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit).  And the Messianic person and atoning work that set this whole program in motion, is the One who also righteously pulled off a legal curse reverse so we no longer have to be perverse!