The essence of life
“Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7
In Hebrew, the word for “breath” also means “wind” and “spirit”, so one of the points of this verse is that God took of His own Spirit and blew it into the man – and that’s how he became a living being. This means that the source and essence of life is God’s Spirit, and the definition of death is the absence of His Spirit. The spirit is also the seat of our emotions and desires, so a sure sign of God’s Spirit in our lives is that our desires to do good become stronger, and the desires to do bad become weaker (Ezekiel 36:26-27
By now, we are getting familiar with the journey from sin to righteousness, from death to life. This lesson focuses on the timespan between we begin believing in the promise of eternal life and until it’s fulfillment.
A seal is a unique sign that authenticates a contract, and God always seals His covenants (contracts). That’s why He put the rainbow in the sky (Genesis 9:11-15
) and gave Abraham the sign of circumcision (Genesis 17:11
). However, the most important seal in the Bible is not external or visible, but internal. It’s the writing of God’s Word on our hearts.
In a key verse from Deuteronomy, God says the following about His Word:
Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)
God’s Word shall be kept in our hearts, passed on to our children, practiced in our everyday lives (“as a sign on your hand”), studied thoroughly (“as an emblem on your forehead”) and serve as a foundation for our homes (“on the doorpost”) and for our decisions (“on your gates”). This is the seal of God on any true believer.
Now you may say: But there are 613 commandments in the Bible - this is too much to ask!
Don’t worry! God did not leave us without help. On Yeshua’s last day before the crucifixion, He said the following:
I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth […] He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. (John 14:16-26)
God’s Holy Spirit is given to all who repent and receive His redemption. Then God breathes His Spirit into our inner beings again and we receive the strength and ability to conform our lives to all of His Word (1 Corinthians 2:12-13
). This is also called the “seal of the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 1:13
, 2 Corinthians 1:22
) and to be “born again” (John 3:3-8
A difference between Jew and Gentile
There is a slight difference between how these 613 commandments shall be followed by Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews). Jews are required to keep all of the physical commandments literally, such as the circumcision and the specific laws that only apply to priests, Levites and the physical land of Israel. Gentiles are not required to keep the physical commandments to the same degree, and should not get circumcised (1 Corinthians 7:18
). They are, however, encouraged to begin participating in the Biblical Holidays and learn from the rich Jewish heritage of symbolism in the physical commandments.
A common law
On the other hand, all Jews and Gentiles alike are required to keep the inner meaning of the 613 laws. For every physical law, there is an inner meaning and motivation, and together they express God’s love – which is the purpose of the law. The daily reciting of the love commandment in Judaism (Deuteronomy 6:4-5
) and the Rabbinic emphasis on loving the neighbor confirm this (Rabbi Akiva on Lev 19:18
). Yeshua also teaches likewise (Matthew 22:36-40
), and so does Paul the apostle (Galatians 5:14
Paul and the Apostles then go into further detail of the commandments. There are 365 negative commandments (don’t do this) and 248 positive commandments (do this), which can be categorized with the words of Paul in Galatians 5:16-26
, and which are discussed throughout the apostolic writings. Again, these are all internal commandments, which are weightier than the external signs and practices, but let us never diminish the importance and the role of the external commandments and physical Israel, because they are earthly reflections of the heavenly and should be treated with uttermost respect.
If you become a believer today, you will not be perfect tomorrow; but here is God’s promise and the testimony of billions of believers throughout history:When you repent and put your trust in God, He will begin transforming you from the inside out to become more like His Messiah. It is the work of His Spirit, which lives in you by His grace and your faith
(2 Corinthians 3:18
One day, your hope will be manifested in the new creation and you will stand perfect before God, as He finishes the work of transformation that begins today (Philippians 1:6
), but more about that in the next lesson…
- The human spark of life comes originally from the Spirit of God
- When we repent, we get a new spark of life, a new spirit, that begins a work of transformation from the inside.
- We then begin to walk in God’s love according to His Word.
- This process continues throughout our lives until we enter into the new creation in a perfect state.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners will be converted to You. (Psalm 51:10-13