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The situation which Habakkuk faces is the imminent invasion of the southern kingdom of Judah by the Chaldeans (who are the same as the Babylonians). This invasion eventually happened at the end of the sixth century BC, and Jerusalem fell to Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC. The Lord revealed to Habakkuk beforehand that Judah was going to be punished for her sin by the Chaldeans. Unlike Joel and Zephaniah and Amos, Habakkuk does not even mention the possibility that destruction could be averted. He does not call for national repentance. It is too late. Instead, he predicts the destruction of Judah, and beyond that the doom of the Chaldeans themselves. And he promises that the only way to preserve your life through the judgment is by faith. So even though destruction is decreed for the nation, there is hope for individuals who hold fast their confidence in God. The full-blown doctrine of justification by faith, as Paul taught it in Romans and Galatians, is not yet here. But the seed is here. So what I would like to do today is survey the content of this prophetic book, then focus on its main point and how it unfolds in the New Testament as the great gospel truth of justification by faith. #### Judah's Wickedness and Coming Judgment After introducing the book as a "burden" which he received from God, Habakkuk cries out in 1:2–4 that Judah is full of violence and perverted justice. For example, verse 4: "So the law is slacked and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous, so justice goes forth perverted." Amos had warned the northern kingdom that injustice would bring judgment, and in 722 BC Assyria swept the northern kingdom away. Now here is the southern kingdom of Judah, 130 years later, guilty of the same offenses. They had not learned anything. So in 1:5–11 God foretells what he intends to do. Verse 6: "For lo, I am rousing the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, who march through the breadth of the earth, to seize habitations not their own." God is in control of the nations. He swings them like a sword to chastise his people. The Chaldeans will come against Judah as God's rod of correction. But verse 12 expresses the confidence Habakkuk has that God will not utterly destroy his people. "Art thou not from everlasting, O Lord my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O Lord, thou hast ordained them as a judgment; and thou, O Rock, hast established them for chastisement." God is rousing the Chaldeans against his people, but it is not for annihilation but for correction and chastisement. #### The Chaldeans' Wickedness and Coming Judgment Then in 1:13–17 Habakkuk shows that he is not satisfied that the proud (1:11) and violent (1:14, 15) and idolatrous (1:16) Chaldeans should themselves escape the judgment of God. They certainly are no more righteous than Judah (1:13), even if God is using them to do his righteous work of judgment. So he protests in verse 17: "Is he (i.e., the Chaldean nation), then, to keep on emptying his net, and mercilessly slaying nations forever?" In chapter 1, then, Habakkuk protests first against the violence and injustice of his countrymen in Judah (1:1–4), and then against the violence and injustice of the Chaldeans whom God is sending to punish Judah. Now, in chapter 2 Habakkuk takes his stand to await the divine response to his protests. In 2:2, 3, the Lord answers him in a vision. We are not told what he saw. But I assume that the rest of what Habakkuk says about the future of Judah and the Chaldeans is based on the assurance received in that vision. The word regarding Judah in verse 4 is this (following the NASB instead of the RSV's unnecessary conjecture): "Behold, as for the proud one, his soul is not right within him; but the righteous will live by his faith." There is hope for those who will hold firm their trust in God as the calamity comes. But the word regarding the Chaldeans in 2:6–19 is a five-fold _woe_. Verse 6: "Woe to him who heaps up what is not his own." Verse 9: "Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house, to set his nest on high." Verse 12: "Woe to him who builds a town with blood." Verse 15: "Woe to him who makes his neighbors drink up the cup of his wrath." Verse 19: "Woe to him who says to a wooden thing, Awake; and to a dumb stone, Arise!" In other words, the great power of the Chaldeans will, in the end, come to nought. The nations weary themselves in vain to fill the earth with their fame and power. Why? Because (as 2:14 says), "The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters covers the sea." Habakkuk need not fear that a rebellious nation will have the last say. The earth is the Lord's, and he will fill it with his glory. The chapter closes with these awesome words in verse 20: "The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him." Let all the nations be still and know that he is God. His glory will fill the earth, not the glory of the Chaldeans. So in answer to Habakkuk's protests, God assures him that the pride of the Chaldeans will come to a woeful end (2:6–20) and that any in Judah who humbly trusts God will gain his life. "The just shall live by his faith" (2:4). #### Habakkuk's Song of Praise and Faith The last chapter of the book is Habakkuk's response to what he has heard. But it is more than his own personal prayer. It is intended as a psalm to be used in worship. When it says in verse 1, "A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, according to Shigionoth," it means that the prayer is to be used to musical accompaniment with a spirit of excitement and triumph. This is confirmed by two things: 1) the very last phrase of the book, "To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments," and 2) the use of "Selah" at the end of verses 3, 9, and 13. The reason this is important to see is that Habakkuk wants _us_ to be able to sing this prayer with him. It is not here to merely inform us about Habakkuk's piety. It's here to show us how we should face the judgment of God. The Chaldeans are coming against Judah for sure. How should the godly prepare for this tribulation and calamity? We should ask the same question. Tribulation is coming upon the world, as Jesus said (Mt 24:21). How should we prepare for it? How shall we endure it? First of all, in 3:2 Habakkuk prays, "O Lord, I have heard the report of thee, and thy work, O Lord, do I fear. In the midst of the years renew it; in the midst of the years make it known; _in wrath remember mercy_." Habakkuk has a sober and healthy fear of the judgment of God. So he prays that in the midst of wrath God will have mercy on him. Then in 3:3–15 he sings the greatness of God's power, and especially his power to save. For example, verse 13: "Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, for the salvation of thine anointed. Thou didst crush the head of the wicked, laying him bare from thigh to neck." The prophet knew God's power from his work in the past, and so he counted on his ultimate victory in the future. So verse 16 says that even though his body _trembles_ at the thought of the invasion, he "waits quietly" for what must be. And finally, in 3:17–19, Habakkuk breaks out into a wonderful song of faith: > Though the fig tree do not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail, and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like hinds' feet, he makes me tread upon my high places. In other words, no matter how severe the tribulation when the Chaldeans invade the land, Habakkuk will never stop trusting God. Even though God himself has roused this "bitter and hasty nation" (1:6), Habakkuk is confident that in wrath God will show mercy to those who trust him and rejoice in him alone when all else fails. When a man and a woman marry, they pledge their love and faithfulness to each other "for better or for worse, whether rich or poor, in sickness and in health, 'til death do us part." And if that's true between husband and wife, how much more between us and God! That consecration is so important to Noël and me that we used Habakkuk 3:17-19 as a wedding text 14 years ago. We are each other's, and we are God's, no matter how severe the tribulation. We trust each other, and we trust him absolutely. #### The Main Point of Habakkuk Now as we step back from our survey, it shouldn't be too hard to see what the main point of this little book is. _Negatively_ it is this: Proud people, whose strength or ingenuity is their god (1:11, 16; 2:4, 19), will come to a woeful end, even though they may enjoy prosperity for a season either as God's chosen ones in Judah, or as the victors over Judah. All the proud, whether Jew or Gentile, will perish in the judgment. But Habakkuk stresses the _positive_ side of his main point, namely, "the just shall live by his faith." He states it as a principle in 2:4, and then he celebrates it as his own song in 3:16–19. When Habakkuk says, "Even when all the fruit and produce and flocks and herds are destroyed and my very life is threatened, yet will I rejoice in God,"—when Habakkuk says that, he shows us what he means by faith in 2:4: "The just shall live by his faith." He means banking your hope on God no matter what. Remember that Habakkuk's prophecy began with his attack on Judah's violence and strife and perverted justice in 1:3, 4. You might expect that when he comes to tell the people how to be saved in the judgment he would say: "Cease being violent! Do justice! Put away strife!" (That's what Amos said.) But he doesn't. When the judgment is certain and the question is, "How can I gain my life before the wrath of a holy God?" Habakkuk's answer is _trust him_. "The just shall live by his _faith_" (2:4). Amos had said to Israel, "Seek good, and not evil, that you may live . . . Remember justice in the gate, and it may be that the Lord of hosts will be gracious" (5:14, 15). So Habakkuk could have said to Judah: The just shall live by his goodness! The just shall live by executing justice in the gate! And he would not have been wrong. For it is a thoroughly biblical teaching that people whose everyday lives are not changed by the Holy Spirit will not inherit eternal life (Gal 5:21). So in a real sense we do gain our lives by becoming better people in God's power and by doing justice and loving mercy. But that is not the heart of the gospel. And unless we have the heart, _that_ part of God's message will become a dreadful legalism and a horrid burden to the conscience. Habakkuk's message comes close to the heart of the gospel. When he says, "The just (or the righteous) shall live by his faith," he implies two things. One is that all those who are righteous are also ones who have faith in God. Having a right standing before man and God always includes faith in God. The other thing Habakkuk 2:4 implies is that _faith_ is what saves from God's wrath. "The just shall live by his faith" means: Just people are people of faith, and faith is what secures their life and keeps them safe for eternity. #### Close to the Heart of the Gospel The reason Habakkuk's message comes _close_ to the heart of the gospel (but doesn't reveal the heart) is that he does not tell us explicitly how righteousness and faith are related. He simply says, "Righteous people have faith, and this faith saves them." The heart of the gospel is that the righteousness which God requires comes by faith, and it is possible for us sinners to have it because Christ died for our sins. Genesis 15:6 says, "Abraham believed the Lord; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness." The relationship between trusting God and standing righteous before him is that God looks at our faith and counts us righteous. The reason God can do that for us sinners is that Christ took the punishment for our iniquities on himself. Already in Isaiah 53:11 this is plain: "By his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities." When God reckons a person righteous because Christ died for him and because he puts his trust in Christ, that is what we call _justification by faith_, and that is the heart of the gospel, the best news in the world to people who know they are sinners and God is holy. But let's not move beyond Habakkuk too quickly. There may be more here than we think for the encouragement of our faith. The judgment of God is coming, most immediately in the Chaldean invasion of Judah, but finally at the end of the age. What is it that will bring life instead of death in the judgment? Before I give Habakkuk's answer, let me make clear that if this is not your question, you are in a dream world. You are living in a fool's paradise of unreality if you do not ask with all your heart, "How can I stand in the judgment which is coming?" "It is appointed for me to die once, and after that comes judgment" (Heb 9:27). Those who resist God are "storing up wrath for themselves on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed" (Rom 2:5). On that day it will appear clearly to all how utterly naïve it was for millions of people to live their lives as though the God who made this world for his glory would never call them to account for how little he has meant to them. It squares with Scripture, and it squares with reason: "He has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness" (Acts 17:31). Therefore, I urge you to ask yourself: Would I gain my life before a holy God if I died tonight? Am I ready to take my stand in the divine courtroom and hear the Judge pass an eternal sentence on me? There will only be two verdicts in that day, and one or the other of them will be passed on every person: either "condemned" or "justified," hell or heaven, eternal death or eternal life. If you want to know how to be ready to gain your life on that day, listen to Habakkuk 2:4. "The just shall live by his faith." Habakkuk knew that everybody in Judah was a sinner. And he knew that the holiness of God prevents him from ignoring our sins: "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil and canst not look on wrong" (1:13). So Habakkuk taught that the only thing that could save us is faith. Faith in what? In God's mercy. In 3:2 he prays, "In wrath remember mercy." Habakkuk couldn't see ahead to how God would preserve both his holy hatred for sin and his merciful forgiveness of sinners who trust him. But God had revealed it, and so he proclaimed it: the just shall gain their lives in the judgment_by faith_. He knew that when he called them "just," they weren't sinless. He meant that those who are right with God in spite of their sin are those who trust God for his mercy. But how can a holy God, who hates sin, show eternal mercy on sinners who simply trust him for mercy? God did not reveal that much to Habakkuk. #### The New Testament Revelation of the Gospel But he did to the apostle Paul, and the answer is the death of Christ. Paul said it like this: > They are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:24-26) Let me try to translate that into your situation. When you put your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, when you give up trying to lead your own life and establish your own worth, and instead surrender your heart to him and bank on him for your future, three things happen. 1) Your sin receives its deserved condemnation. 2) God's righteousness receives its deserved glorification. 3) And you receive your _un_deserved justification. 1) Your sin receives its deserved condemnation. You may be drunk with self- confidence now before the awesome holiness of God. But, I promise you, on your deathbed (if God gives you a chance) you will sober up in a hurry, and be scared to death that in a day or two you will stand with all your sin before God. Sin must be punished. But God, who is rich in mercy, sent his Son to take our sin on himself and suffer for it. "What the law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he_condemned sin_ in the flesh" ([Romans 8:3](http://biblia.com/bible/esv/Romans%208.3)). "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree" (1 Pt 2:24; 3:18; 2 Cor 5:21; Is 53:6; Mk 10:45). If you close with Christ in faith, the death he died becomes your death. Your sins become his, and you bear them no more. They have received their deserved condemnation. 2) But it is not as though God's righteousness were easily satisfied. It took the death of Christ for _God's righteousness to receive its deserved glorification_. If his righteousness had not been at stake, he might have swept your sin under the rug. But he glorified his righteousness by requiring an infinitely valuable sacrifice—the death of his own Son. It is unthinkable in a moral universe that God could simply let bygones be bygones. The sins you committed ten years ago are as vivid and horrible and condemning as if you did them last night. The righteous God cannot forget and ignore sin—unless there is an atonement, a sacrificial substitute. Therefore, he sent the Son, so that our sin might receive its deserved condemnation, and his righteousness might receive its deserved glorification. 3) Finally, when you trust in Christ _you receive your undeserved justification_. "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom 8:1). "Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom 5:1). "To the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness" (Rom 4:5). Habakkuk taught us that when judgment comes the just shall live by his faith. And when that seed comes to full flower in the New Testament, we see that the reason the just live by faith is that the just are justified by faith. As Paul puts it (and with this invitation I close), "They are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be _received_ by faith" (Rom 3:24f). This sermon by John Piper is also available in audio form on this website: http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/the-just-shall-live-by-faith

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1 Sarah R = "Consider the meaning of this verse. The proud believe that by their own actions they will be saved. The righteous, however, believe it is by faith - not faith in one's own "goodness" or deeds, but faith in God to save. "
2 Yaakov ben Chaim Tzvi = "A relationship by its very nature means that both parties share in the responsibility and welfare of the other. When a man and woman marry, they each take on a responsibility that complements the other. Only by the fulfillment of each person’s obligations can the marriage succeed. The man takes an oath to support his wife, to protect her, to ensure for her needs. The woman takes an oath that she will be the backbone of the relationship and create an environment to raise a family. Without each contribution, the whole unit falls apart. The same holds true with regards to our relationship to God. It is foolish for someone to believe that they can do whatever they want but because they have ‘faith’ then everything between them and God is perfect. Faith cannot heal broken relationships. Faith cannot feed a starving family. Only our physical actions which are the representation of our faith can. This is why the Prophets tells us all throughout the scriptures that God wants our actions; true expressions of our faith.Deuteronomy 26:16 The Lord your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul.Joshua 22:5 But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul."Psalms 119:2 Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart.Psalms 25:10 All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of his covenant.Psalms 119:22 Remove from me scorn and contempt, for I keep your statutes.Psalms 119:168 I obey your precepts and your statutes, for all my ways are known to you.Proverbs 8:32 Now then, my sons, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my commandments.Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law.Isaiah 56:2 Blessed is the man who does this, the man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.In other words, the Prophets are saying that “talk is cheap”. If you want a real relationship with God, then keep his commandments because “actions speak louder than words”.The concept of "Sola Fide" or "faith alone" was an invention by Martin Luther, the anti-semite who preached that it was Christian duty to burn Jews alive in synagogues. Since the "Holy Spirit" can not dwell in someone who was filled with so much hate, it's obvious that all of his teachings regarding Christianity were false. It's almost like saying that Adolph Hitler had something positive to contribute to the Christian world. In fact, it's well known that Hitler was a fan of Luther and used his "teachings" to fuel his hatred of Jews and others who didn't see his world view. Before someone goes talking about "faith alone" they should research where such a concept came from and learn about the man who invented it."
3 Sarah R = "There is a subtle but important difference between "belief" and "faith" - a difference apparent in this verse. It is easy to believe in God and even to believe that Jesus is the Son of God and died for sins. It is harder to let that belief translate into life change - into faith. The verse says "the righteous will LIVE BY his faith." LIVE BY. That means faith is not "yeah I believe but I'm still going to live as I want." What kind of belief is that? And more importantly, can that belief even save?Faith is lived out through our words, actions and attitudes. Jesus said that "by their fruit" would believers be recognized (Mt 7:16). James said "faith without deeds is dead" (Jam 2:17). The key here, though, and what I think this verse is getting at, is that we are not saved because of our good works, but we do good works because we are saved."
4 Yaakov ben Chaim Tzvi = "The problem with your interpretation is that you always resort back to "salvation" yet this concept was not even in Habbakuk's vocabulary nor was it in the vocabulary of any of the Jewish prophets as they all livedlived many hundreds of years before Jesus. Since according to Christian doctrine there was no salvation before the sacrifice of Jesus, this concept would have been unknown to anyone in Judaism. It's easy for you to "look back" but what we must do in order to properly understand scriptures is to look at what the prophet is saying in context to the time in which they lived. Salvation in reference to Jesus was not a factor in Habbakuk's preaching. All of the prophets, every single one, had one message and one message only... The nation of Israel was to follow the laws of Moses. Since this message was exclusive to Israel and not the gentile nations, the true interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures must be looked at from this context in order for one to be honest to themselves and others."
5 Sarah R = ""The first thing that must be understood when considering the plan of salvation is the relationship between humans and the infinite, sovereign God. In Psalms, 11:7. we read, “For the Lord (Jehovah) is righteous, He loveth righteousness; The upright shall behold His face.”2 We might add “only” the upright shall behold His face. Who can claim to be “righteous” and “upright?” Consider what the prophet Isaiah, said in chapter 64:5. “And we are all become as one that is unclean, and all our righteousnesses are as a polluted garment; and we all do fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” Take us away from what? From thepresence and fellowship of God. Even those things, which appear to us as “good” or “righteous” works, cannot bring us into His presence. Ezekiel 33:12b. continues with the admonition that “The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression.” The context suggests that we cannot “build up” good works that will suffice to please God when we ignore or disregard His moral absolutes."If we are trusting in good works to please God, we are in trouble indeed! Should we be reduced to a point of despair? Is there no way to please God? How can we be declared righteous in God’s sight? We must have a righteousness that He sees as righteous. Two things are required for this righteousness, faith on our part, and an atonement on God’s part. First, faith or belief in what God can do, has done, and will do. Genesis 15:6. very clearly states how this affects God. “And he (Abram) believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness.” This thought is continued in Habakkuk 2:4b. “But the righteous shall live by his faith.” This is a comprehensive, general standard for all time, applicable even today."There's a lot more to this explanation!! See the whole article here: https://bible.org/article/old-testament-salvation"
6 Yaakov ben Chaim Tzvi = "Christianity maintains that all men are doomed to sin, and everyone will go to everlasting hell unless they accept Jesus as their savior.Judaism has always held that we do not need that sort of salvation, for we are not doomed or damned at birth. We are not doomed or fated to sin. Quite the contrary. The Torah says: "If you do good, won't there be special privilege? And if you do not do good, sin waits at the door. It lusts after you, but you can dominate it." (Genesis 4:7) In other words, you can do good, and if you do, things will be better for you. If you do not do good, sin wants to be partners with you. But you can control sin, you can control your evil desires, and you can be good.So we have free will, and that is what Judaism has always believed, because that is what the Torah teaches. The Torah does not teach -- or even mention -- that we are "born in sin," or that we are fated to sin. Just the opposite. We have the ability to choose.Which means that we can be good, or we can be evil. It's up to us. And if we can be good, that means we can be righteous. I cannot understand how or why Christians like to say that no one can be righteous in the eyes of G-d. The Torah says otherwise.I often say to missionaries that if they choose to believe that all Gentiles are sinful, I would have to disagree, but I won't bother to argue the point. It's their own people, let them say what they want.But if they choose to say that all people, including Jews, are sinful and cannot be righteous, I have to strongly disagree, because the Torah says quite the opposite: "All your nation is righteous, they will inherit the earth eternally; the shoot that I have planted, the work of My hands, something to be proud of" (Isaiah 60:21). So we are righteous, and Hashem is proud of us.And it says, "Open the gates, so that the righteous nation that keeps the faith may enter" (Isaiah 26:2).We Children of Israel are righteous. For the Torah says so. Of course, we must uphold the Torah, or otherwise we might cease to be righteous. But as long as we keep the Torah, we are righteous. The Prophets of the Torah warned us about this many times. They often called us wicked. When? When we did not obey the Commandments of the Torah. Yet never once in all of the Jewish Bible did the Prophets chastise us for not believing in Jesus! Not once!I also have to wonder: if no one can be righteous in the eyes of G-d, how can the Torah call Noah righteous (Genesis 6:9, 7:1), as just one example? "Noah walked with G-d," the Torah says. Obviously you can be righteous and you can walk with G-d without the help of Jesus.Hashem called Moses was a trusted servant, and closer to Him than any other prophet. Moses spoke directly to Hashem, and Hashem spoke directly to Moses (Numbers 12:6-8). No mention was made of Jesus.The problem is that Christians do not understand the meaning of the concept "righteousness." They think it means that one has never sinned. Never sinning is almost impossible. The Torah says that "There is no person on earth so righteous that he does only good and never sins" (Eccl. 7:20) Rather, the definition of a righteous person is as taught in Proverbs 24:16: "The righteous fall even seven times and still get up, but the wicked stumble in evil."Being righteous does not mean that one never sins. It means that after you sin you get back up again, repent, and try again. You keep on trying. That is being righteous.Not only that, but even if you keep on trying, and you don't succeed very well, and you have many sins, you can still be forgiven and go to Heaven. In the Book of Job (33:23) it says that if someone has even only one merit and 1000 sins, he is rescued from hell. So we are not doomed to hell.That's what Judaism teaches, as we see from the Torah. The Christian bible, on the other hand, teaches that there is no repentance after sinning. Here is what it says in the christian bible:For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. -- 2 Peter 2:20-21In other words, if anyone accepted Jesus as savior, and then sins, they are in worse trouble than they were before they accepted Jesus.So what then is the advantage of accepting Jesus? It seems better to stay with Hashem! Hashem accepts repentance, and loves all those who turn away from sin, no matter how many times they have sinned and repented. "For the righteous stumble even seven times, but they get up again!" And they are still called righteous!And the wicked who repent are no longer called wicked.Even when I have told the wicked that he will die, but then he repents, and he does justice and righteousness; he returns the collateral when he is supposed to, he repays what he stole, he begins to live by the Laws of Life, and does not do evil, he will live, and he will not die. All the sins that he committed will not be held against him, for he has begun to do judgment and righteousness; he shall surely live. -- Ezekiel 33:14-16We see, therefore another fallacy of the Christians, who argue that "sin has separated us from a perfectly holy G-d." We are not separated from Hashem at all. All we need to do is repent.But no, say the Christians. Repentance won't work, for some reason that we cannot understand. They claim that "no one can be close to G-d without Jesus."This is completely wrong. The righteous live by their own faith. (Habbakuk 2:4) We do not gain life or atonement by the faith or righteousness of Jesus. We are masters of our own fate, because the choice to do good or bad is our own.Was King David separated from G-d? Yet the Torah says about him that he did one thing wrong (1 Kings 15:5) and yet he was considered righteous and Hashem was with him. (See, for example, 1 Kings 11:34; 1 Kings 18:14).) Whenever a royal descendant of King David did the right thing, the Torah says about him that he followed in the ways of his ancestor David. (See, for example, 1 Kings 14:8; 2 Kings 18:3; 2 Kings 22:2; et al.)Did Moses sin? Was he close to G-d or not? Did Abraham sin? Was he close to G-d or not?And if you examine the Christian belief in this matter, you will find that many denominations believe that G-d only chooses those that G-d has previously decided to choose. In other words, G-d will accept into Heaven only on those whom He has decided to accept into Heaven, and we have no free will or choice! That means that we cannot even be good people if we try! It's all up to G-d! "Many are called, but few are chosen."How is this merciful?What about all those people who are not chosen? How do they attain "salvation?" Why can they not attain salvation, when it isn't even their fault? That is possibly the cruelest doctrine I have ever heard! No matter what a person does, he will get Heaven only if G-d had previously chosen him to get Heaven! Everyone else goes to eternal hell!In Judaism, it is entirely up to you. If you do good, you will get good.http://www.beingjewish.com/toshuv/"
7 Sarah R = "We should remember that Christianity began as a sect in Judaism. The doctrines of Christianity come from the teachings of Jesus and the disciples which were rooted in the Old Testament. The Old and New Testament are one continuous revelation from God. So let's look at the Old Testament roots.Christianity maintains that all men are sinners. As you noted, no one can be good all the time. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The Old Testament states this as well, in Ecclesiastes 7:20, and also 1 Kings 8:46, "There is no one who does not sin," Psalms 143:2, "No one living is righteous before you," and Proverbs 20:9, "Who can say, 'I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin?'" Whether we are born sinners or choose to sin, it makes no difference - we all need God's mercy and forgiveness.Christianity agrees with Judaism in the concept of free will. People have the ability to choose good or evil. Can we be good? We can make good choices. But can we really be good? As good as God? Leviticus 11:44, "Be holy because I am holy." If we think we can be as good as God, we either have a really small view of God or a really high view of ourselves.God said to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." (Exodus 33:19). In Daniel 4:35, it says God "does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth." In Job 40, God basically says, "When you can do what I can do, THEN I will admit your own hand can save you." Obviously we cannot do what God does! We cannot be as holy as He! We need His righteousness to cover us.God calls a lot of people righteous in the Old Testament who were not - whose sins are displayed across the pages. Noah got drunk. Abraham lied and doubted God's promise. Moses' sin kept him out of the Promised Land. David is a great example because he recognized how his sin was before God and he needed God's forgiveness (Psalms 32 and 51). It wasn't the actions of the Old Testament saints that God called righteous, but their faith. Genesis 15:6, "Abraham believed the LORD, and [God] credited it to him as righteousness." Through faith God washes sin away, "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." (Isaiah 1:18) Isaiah 45:7, "But Israel will be saved by the LORD with an everlasting salvation," also 45:22, "Turn to me and be saved." It is clear that coming to God is what brings salvation, not ones' own works, because God is the one who gives it. Trying to come to God on our own terms and in our own strength rather than depending on God for salvation is like Abraham trying to fulfill God's promise of a son through Hagar. And actually, as a side note, there are a lot of great parallels there. Abraham and Sarah were promised a son, but they had to wait a long time. Israel was promised a Messiah, and had to wait a long time. Abraham and Sarah had the promised son through a miraculous birth. The Messiah was born through a miraculous birth. Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice his son on a mountain (though at the last moment God provided a sacrifice). The Messiah was God's Son, sacrificed on a mountain, a perfect sacrifice provided by God Himself. John 14:6, "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Jesus, the Word of God (John 1), the law fulfilled, the only One to live without sin, the only One who could clothe us in righteousness, His righteousness, that we might indeed be presented holy before our Most Holy God."
8 Cary W = "Our faith and trust in God's mercy and grace and power are certainly tested when we endure any wrath, judgment or hardship, yet if our faith is firmly founded on the consistency of God to bring the highest good out of all the trouble, will enable us to continue in joy and praise, knowing the final outcome is our deliverance, salvation and manifest glory of God the most High!"
9 Sarah R = "Habakkuk says, even when things are bad, I will still rejoice in God. This is a grand example of faith. Faith does not depend on outcomes. Faith depends on Someone. Regardless of how circumstances play out in our life, faith says, "I believe that God knows what He is doing.""
10 Sarah R = "The comparison of our relationship with God to a marriage relationship is Biblical. Consider the whole book of Hosea, where God asks a prophet to marry a prostitute to symbolize how God's people were turning away to other gods. The New Testament also talks about the church being the "bride of Christ" (for an example see Ephesians 5). "
11 Cary W = "When faced with our own errors, arrogance, and rebellion, we know God will bring about His justice, yet remaining strong in faith that He will also deliver us from our waywardness, yeah even wash us with His own blood, so that we may be a people unto His glory."
12 Cary W = "When speaking of faith in God, Paul calls it the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, meaning that even the very faith that saves us from the wrath and judgment of God, comes from Him, and not ourselves.  In Christ Jesus we have access to the gift of His Faith and His Right standing with God.  Even the very faith to believe and receive His gifts is given to us by grace."