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Msindisi # 122

November 5, 2014

SALVADOR AND DIANNE’S MSINDISI MONTHLY

Number: 121 Oct 2014

P.O. Box 1481

Vryheid 3100

KwaZulu Natal

South Africa

+27 (0) 72 8311008

+27 (0) 72 3843786

Email: msindisi@gmail.com, salv.di@gmail.com

KwaZulu Mission WEBSITE: http://www.kwazulumission.com

KwaZulu Mission Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/kwazulumission

Greetings all

Our biggest news is that electricity has arrived in the community and we are now hooked up. Our second biggest news is that Di’s application for transferring her visa from her old passport to her new passport has finally been granted. She applied in February so it is welcome news. We will be fetching it on Friday and applying straight away for her extension of permit so that we can remain in South Africa for another three years. Salvador’s new passport has arrived and so he is also applying for transferal of visa from old passport to new. After that has been granted he will also apply for extension of permit. This is proving a real test of our sanity, as most documentation in South Africa does. To have his current visa transferred the VFS Global company, that handles the applications now, has a new policy which requires he has another X-ray and medical report though he has an existing permit. We are not sure yet if this will be required again when he re-applies for his visa extension.

We have Electricity

We have Electricity

In the last newsletter we travelled to Pretoria to submit paper work for police checks and Salvador to get his Portuguese ID. This month we headed back to collect them. We left after kids club on the sat and stayed with Riaan and Debbie. Over our time in Pretoria and in Springs we were able to see Mark and Paula Hibberd and family who came to fellowship on the Sunday with Riaan and Debbie. We shared a lovely meal with Morne and Doret and Sean and Catherine on the Tues evening, Wednesday night we caught up with Morne and Vicki at Alan and Sues. Our dear friend Lillian was in hospital so we also got to visit her with Sue which was a blessing.

Mark and Paula Hibberd visiting us in Pretoria

Mark and Paula Hibberd visiting us in Pretoria

Bram and his father in law Riaan

Bram and his father in law Riaan

Di with Debbie and her daughters.

Di with Debbie and her daughters.

Bram and Bianca Van de Minkelis in Pretoria

Bram and Bianca Van de Minkelis in Pretoria

While in Gauteng we were blessed by Morag who had a couple of second hand sewing machines she wanted to give away. Both Di and Celani have very big smiles and are enjoying sharing their skills with each other. It’s a whole new experience for Celani having never used an electric sewing machine before. We told her she is able to drive now, her pedal action can go from 0 to 120 in seconds.

Celani with her new sewing machine

Celani with her new sewing machine

Salvi has started going through teaching material with Johnny which is basically workshops in studying the bible and putting messages together. Johnny has been asked at the Baptist church to teach a couple of times and we have had him teach at the cell group.

There has been a huge postal strike in SA so if you have sent anything over and not had a response from us this will be the reason.

Salvador has just completed proof checking the NTM material creation to Christ firm foundations in Zulu and has now passed it on to Phumlani for his checking. Salvador’s main input has been to check for mistakes and inconsistency with spelling and grammar. Phumlani is checking material for accuracy and spelling. Once this is finished it will be returned to Tony and Maria Verlaan who will be in contact with the printers.

Proof Checking the New Tribes Mission isiZulu Material "Firm Foundations"

Proof Checking the New Tribes Mission isiZulu Material “Firm Foundations”

The New Tribes Mission Material "Firm Foundations in IsiZulu

The New Tribes Mission Material “Firm Foundations in IsiZulu

Phumlani and Salvi continue to go out twice a week giving the gospel in Cibilili. Discipling continues as does cell group on a Friday night and kids club Saturday morn and fellowship Sunday morn. Salvador was also asked to share a little message a the wedding of a couple in an area not too far from where we are.

Phumlani preaches in Cibilili

Phumlani preaches in Cibilili

Thembisile preaches in Cibilili

Thembisile preaches in Cibilili

Celani Teaches Kid's Club

Celani Teaches Kid’s Club

Kids playing at Kid's Club

Kids playing at Kid’s Club

Celani and MaNtombela before the Church meeting starts

Celani and MaNtombela before the Church meeting starts

Clearing up after the Church meeting.

Clearing up after the Church meeting.

Mr and Mrs Dludla, whose wedding Salvador was asked to give a small message.

Mr and Mrs Dludla, whose wedding Salvador was asked to give a small message.

Mr and Mrs Dludla's wedding.

Mr and Mrs Dludla’s wedding.

This coming month is when the crèches have their end of the year concerts. Sal will be sharing so please keep him in prayer. Last week he was at Mange Primary School, Eastmine, and shared the gospel during their farewell of grade 7 pupils and congratulations of the grade R children. On Saturday he preached the Gospel for the grade R students Joyland concert. This week he is doing a pre-concert recording at the graduation of grade R students at Care bear crèche and playing a few songs.

Kids at Care Bear Creche

Kids at Care Bear Creche

Di Teaches at Care Bear Creche

Di Teaches at Care Bear Creche

Mange Primary School Grade R children.

Mange Primary School Grade R children.

Parents watch their children at the Joyland creche end of year concert.

Parents watch their children at the Joyland creche end of year concert.

Joyland creche end of year concert.

Joyland creche end of year concert.

At the end of the week Phumlani will be heading down to Stanger in order to support our dear friend, Calvin Josiah preach the Gospel and teach Zulu speaking people there. We will be going down after church on Sunday to catch up with the brethren in Stanger and Ballito that we have not seen since the beginning of the year. On the Tuesday Salvador has to submit his paperwork and do biometrics at the Visa centre in Durban to complete his application for transfer of visa. We trust that by this weekend we will have made Di’s application after collecting her visa so we trust we will able to book her appointment for the same day in order to save us another trip down to Durban.

Salvador is working hard at his assignment at the moment. He is doing an 8000 word dissertation on Matthew 1-2. He has done most of his research and is collating his notes. Once he has written and submitted this assignment he will have completed his course.

We would like to congratulate Jacob and Raewyn Meads on their recent wedding. May the Lord bless you both as you settle into married life.


Prayer needs:

  • Visa transfers and renewals.
  • Phumlani who is going to visit the fellowship in Stanger. He leaves 7 Nov till the 10th. He will be teaching.
  • Safe travels on the road as we also travel to Durban for Salvador’s, and hopefully Di’s, interviews at Visa centre.
  • We give thanks for electricity and water in the tanks.
  • We thankful for both being in good health.
  •  When we look at the huge persecution that Christains are under around the world. It reminds us to be faithful in pray and fellowship. May we continue to endure and labour while we are able.

Much blessings in Christ

Salvador and Di


THE PRIVILEGE OF THE JEW, THE CONDEMNATION OF MEN AND THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF FAITH 

ROMANS 3

 

Paul’s mindset recognizes that, because man is spiritually and morally bankrupt, God must therefore initiate Salvation. Man’s part is to respond in belief with an attitude of humility and servitude. Paul demonstrated this mindset in his salvation, in his calling to be an apostle and in his desire to see the Christians in Rome. Paul wanted to see them in order to preach the Gospel to them. In the last chapter, we looked at the beginning of the Gospel message, which spoke of God’s wrath. God’s anger is against all unrighteousness and ungodliness of men who suppress truth in unrighteousness. All the nations of the earth are descended from Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth who originally knew God. However, from the time of Babel and onwards they turned to idolatry. Because of their rebellion, God gave them over to impurity in the lusts of their hearts. As a result, they began to commit flagrant homosexuality. God also gave them over to a depraved mind. Even the moralistic Gentiles, who spoke out against these things, broke God’s law that was written on their consciences. As such, they proved themselves worthy of condemnation also. Yet, even the Jew, who had God’s law and all the privileges of being set apart as special unto the Lord, became like the Gentiles and nullified their circumcision. It seems like Paul, with one fell swoop, has done away with God’s purposes for Israel. It seems that Paul is advocating that God has done away with the Jews. This is what Paul will deal with next. We will look at Romans 3 in three sections. Firstly, we will look at Israel’s unique position. Secondly, we will look at the condemnation of all men, and lastly we will see the answer of the Gospel, which is Salvation by faith apart from works of the Law.

VERSES 1 – 8: 

THE UNIQUE POSITION OF ISRAEL

Now before we start analyzing these verses I want to highlight two main things for our consideration. I am not highlighting them for the sake of this chapter alone. I want us to bear these things in mind during the next few chapters of this book. The first consideration is to do with the word ‘Law’. When Paul uses the term ‘Law’ and says ‘we are not under Law but under grace’, he is not saying that we are without law.

THE LAW OF MOSES AND THE LAW OF CHRIST

Let us read 1 Corinthians 9: 20 – 21. “20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the Law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law.”

Paul makes a distinction between being under the Law and being under the law of Christ. Now this is, in one sense, difficult to grasp. The Jewish word for ‘law’ is ‘Torah’ and it refers to the 10 commandments, the first 5 books of the Bible, to the Bible itself and to all the words given to Moses. It was all from God. It is all Torah: that is to say, that it is all God’s teaching. The Law of Moses was not Moses’ invention but God had commanded it. So why would Paul discard something that God had given? Leviticus 18: 5 promises life to those who do its commandments. This has nothing to do with faith; it is down to sheer obedience. Therefore, Paul has some explaining to do. Was the Law of Moses of no consequence? Biblical Judaism, is not a religion just like any other religion. It is special in the sense that it is a religion given by God. It is not a false man made religion despite the unbiblical additions in the unbiblical mixture known today as Rabbinic Judaism. Throughout the next six chapters, Paul will explain how he can speak of the Mosaic covenant in the way he does.

In 2 Peter 3: 16, Peter said of Paul’s writings “in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the scriptures to their own destruction.” People misunderstood Paul’s teachings and that misunderstanding of the Law of Moses is the first thing he wants to deal with in Romans 3: 1. Paul was not against the Law of Moses; he was for it. In Acts 21: 20 – 24 James and the elders commissioned Paul to pay the expenses of some Jews. Paul also purified himself along with them to show that he walked orderly and kept the Law. Just because the Jew is as guilty as the rest of us does not mean that there is no benefit in being Jewish or in circumcision. On the contrary, Paul says that the advantage of being Jewish and the benefit of circumcision are great in every respect. It is true that the Jew is guilty but even in his unbelief he is recipient of the Abrahamic covenant. Yet Paul’s primary claim of that benefit is that God entrusted the Jew with His oracles. What a good job they did of preserving them by the grace of God, despite their many apostasies! This is one reason why the manuscripts that we have of the Old Testament are so reliable. They painstakingly checked every page and if they found any error, they would have to discard it. The bible texts are not a result of “Chinese whispers” as the higher critics would have us believe.

The Law of Moses does not save but there is still value in it because God gave it. If you have read ‘The Shadow of the Almighty’, the biography of Jim Elliott, you will remember that one of the main themes was the relationship between Jim and Elizabeth developing as friends before they eventually entered into marriage. Their friendship was not the same as marriage, and was not as intimate as marriage but it still had a value of its own. It is also this way with the Law of Moses. It is not salvation but it still has a value of its own apart from salvation, simply because it signified a relationship with the Lord.

THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT

The second consideration we must bear in mind throughout the following chapters is the covenant that God has with Israel as a nation. In Genesis 15 God made the covenant with Abraham. God established this covenant before making the Mosaic covenant, and circumcision was its seal. In the Abrahamic covenant God promised the land to Abraham’s descendants as a possession. The Mosaic covenant, however, regulated their dwelling in the land. Hence, God exiled Israel out of the land because they did not walk according to His laws but went after other gods. Though the judgment stopped Israel from dwelling in the land, the land never stopped being their possession. When God made the covenant with Abraham, as proof that Abraham would possess the land, God told Abraham to cut up a 3-year-old heifer, a 3-year-old female goat, a 3-year-old ram, a turtledove, a young pigeon all into two. Abraham laid the two pieces opposite each other. The parties who passed through the pieces would make the covenant. However, who passed through these pieces? Only God passed through the pieces signifying that only He was obligated to fulfill the conditions of the covenant. Therefore, the Abrahamic covenant is an everlasting covenant. Afterwards Abraham received the mark of circumcision as a seal of the covenant. God cannot reject Israel as a nation, even if they are disobedient. We can see that circumcision is of value concerning the Abrahamic covenant. Paul must have been alluding to this covenant in verses 3 and 4 where he says that the unbelief of the Jews will not nullify the faithfulness of God.

This is the issue. Does God break His promises? If so, then He is a liar. Even if He could break the Abrahamic covenant then what would make us think that He would be faithful to the covenant that we are in? Rather, Israel’s disobedience served to highlight God’s faithfulness and His Truth. This is because God is always faithful but He is more especially faithful in the face of His people’s unfaithfulness. To prove it, Paul quotes the words of the greatest king Israel ever had before Yeshua (Jesus) came. Paul quotes David’s words, a man after God’s own heart, in Psalm 51: 4. Here King David speaks of his sin against God when he committed adultery with Bathsheba and practically murdered her husband. David said that the reason he sinned was so that it would reveal God to be the righteous one and not him. Obviously, that was not David’s motive for sinning but it was the effect of his sin against God.

GOD IS NOT TO BLAME

In Romans 3, Paul introduces a voice of doubt (what is technically known as a ‘diatribe’) that seeks to go against what God is saying. In doing so, it seeks to place blame on God and justify man. This voice is not so obvious here but it will become more obvious as the letter goes on. It started with verse 3 saying ‘Is God unfaithful?’ Why does Paul ask these questions? The Roman believers would undoubtedly encounter people who would raise these questions. Paul did not shy away from difficult questions. So from now on, we will refer to this ‘diatribe’ as ‘The voice of doubt’. So what does the ‘Voice of Doubt’ ask next?

 5 But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He? (I am speaking in human terms.)

In other words, he is saying, ‘I am doing God a favor by being unrighteous. So is it wrong for God to judge someone who is benefiting Him in this way?’ This person believes that he is sinning to the glory of God. God has to judge this person and the entire nation of Israel from which this person is supposed to be from (as is indicated by the context of verses 1 – 5). God has to judge Israel; otherwise, He would be a God of partiality when He judges the world. He would be a God who would say to the world that He hates sin, however if you are in His camp He will turn a blind eye. Verse 8 demonstrates that those who misunderstood Law and Grace are looking for any excuse to sin. Paul’s reaction to them was that they stood justly condemned. All people, therefore, stand justly condemned before a perfect and holy God. We should have recognized by now that Paul is predominantly speaking to the Jew and concerning the Jew. It should not be any wonder that Paul is doing this for a church that was predominantly Gentile because the God of the Old Testament is the same God as the One of the New Testament. Paul must deal with all these issues in order for his readers to gain a good understanding of the Gospel and to show that the New does not contradict the Old.

VERSES 9 – 20:

THE CONDEMNATION OF ALL MEN

Paul asks, ‘Are we Jews any better than the world, than the Gentiles’? Paul has already shown us that this was not the case in the last chapter. Despite all the privileges they had of being the chosen nation, Jews are sinners as Gentiles are. The pagan nations, the moralistic Gentiles and the Jew are all guilty before a Holy God and are deserving of God’s wrath. In verses 10 – 18, Paul puts a sledgehammer to the last vestiges of self-righteousness these Roman Christians might boast in by quoting from Psalm 14: 1 – 3, Psalm 53: 1 – 3, Psalm 5: 9, Psalm 140: 3, Psalm 10: 7, Isaiah 59: 7 and Psalm 36: 1. King David wrote most of these scriptures. He witnessed fallen human nature and the behaviors described here not only describe the Gentiles but also Israelites too, especially concerning Saul and his men. Even David had committed murder. Isaiah speaks of Israel in chapter 59. The truth is that we are all guilty of these things. Yet note that most of these things are to do with our mouth and the mouth is an indicator of the condition of the heart (Mt 12: 34). The Law of Moses promises life to those who keep its commandments. Paul claims that it is of great benefit in every way. Circumcision separates the Jew from every other nation and speaks of God’s faithfulness to Israel, regardless of their obedience. Therefore, how can one reconcile these things with Paul’s claim that they do not profit in Romans 2: 25, and verses 28 & 29? It is because in Romans 2 Paul was speaking of having a right standing before God. He was speaking of man failing to obtain salvation and deserving God’s wrath. Though the Law promises the Jew life, it does not give life because it is conditioned upon the Jew’s obedience to it and every Jew has failed to render perfect obedience. David could not have merited salvation based on the Law, for the Law required the adulterer to be stoned to death. There was another basis to David’s salvation than his own obedience to God’s law. Romans 3:19-20 argues that the purpose of the Law was never to justify the Jew. The Law was introduced to show him his sin.

VERSES 21 – 31:

THE ANSWER OF THE GOSPEL

Paul says that God must introduce another law because the first law is rendered ineffective for the salvation of the Jew. The answer lies in the righteousness of God as a gift by faith. We looked at this at the beginning of the last chapter. God administers this righteousness to us, as we believe the Gospel. This law of faith is not contrary to the Law of Moses in its requirement of righteousness. Paul states in verse 21 that the Law and the prophets all witnessed unto this righteousness that is apart from the Law. This is great news, fantastic news for us Gentiles, because the Mosaic Law was only enacted with the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Yet because this righteousness is apart from the Mosaic Law then it extends an invitation for us to be recipients also; to be incorporated into the body of Jews who believe in their Messiah. There is also another reason why it is good news. Unlike the Mosaic Law, its promise of life does not rest on our obedience but upon what Jesus did on the cross. Therefore, I receive it by faith as a gift without earning it or buying it.

What about God’s wrath against our unrighteousness? God cannot forgive us simply because we ask for it. In verse 25 Paul supplies us with a word that deals with God’s wrath. The word is ‘propitiation’, which, being the translation of the Greek word ‘hilasterion’, means, ‘an expiatory place or thing’.  It is to make amends for what has been wronged with a view to reconciliation. Terry Miethe claims that this word means to satisfy God’s wrath. With this, the words of Isaiah 53: 10 agree, which state that God was pleased to crush His servant, putting Him to grief. Only when God’s anger has been satisfied and his justice and holiness appeased by dealing out punishment for our sin can there be reconciliation. That means that God is righteous in the fact that he has to judge unrighteousness. Yet God is also righteous in His forgiveness of sinners because He has not let anyone off the hook and thus perverted the cause of justice and the requirement of His holiness.

I once watched a movie called ‘National Treasure’. I do not think that it is a great movie, I am not saying that I recommend it, but there was something in it that was true. The main character steals the national declaration of independence in order to save it from others who would also steal it. He had good motives. However, when the FBI agent has apprehended the character who stole he says, “Someone has to pay the price. Someone’s got to go to jail!” Jesus took our punishment on the cross and His spilled blood appeased God’s holiness and justice. The life is in the blood and therefore Jesus gave His life for ours, as a payment to redeem us. Therefore, because salvation is based on Christ’s merits and not ours, the only thing that we can boast in is the cross. From verses 27 – 30 Paul upholds the law of faith for justification for both circumcised and uncircumcised against the works of the Law of Moses, which God only made with the circumcised. Is it that the law of Christ is against or contrary to the Law of Moses? No, the Law of Moses and the law of Christ in essence are the same because the Law is one and because God is one. However, the Law of God in Moses is contained in outward ordinances and rituals and is a dim picture of the law of God in Christ. Think of it in this way. The heart of both laws is the same. The heart is to love God with your whole being, and to love your fellow man. It is all God’s law. It is in essence the same law but it wears two sets of clothes. It is one but it is also two. There are similarities because the same God gave both. At heart they are both one but they are applied differently to Israel according to the flesh and to the body of Messiah. Jacob Prasch explains the differences between the two in a very understandable way. He looks at laws that govern the road in two countries.

If you take two countries, say England and South Africa, you will find that most laws are the same but there are some differences. If you travel 120 on South African Motorways, you are within the law and therefore there is no problem. However if you were to travel 120 in the UK you would be heavily penalized because in South Africa you use kilometers and the UK uses miles. The two laws work within different contexts. Paul asks in verse 31, ‘do we nullify the Law through faith? May it never be!’ Jesus said in Matthew 5: 17 that He did not come to abolish the Law or the prophets but to complete, to fill them, to fulfill them. Jesus did not terminate the Law but rather He is the embodiment of it. He is our Sabbath, He is our Paschal lamb, and He is our scapegoat. We do not sacrifice a paschal lamb in the body of Messiah. However, with the exception of the Samaritan community in Israel, neither does the Jew sacrifice a paschal lamb. Yet the believer in Yeshua has a paschal lamb whereas the Torah observant Jew does not. As Paul said of these things in Colossians 2: 17 that they are “things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.” Therefore, the Law of Moses is not something that the Jew can forget about. For the Jew who believes in Yeshua as his Messiah, he cannot be under its jurisdiction. This Law cannot justify him. It rather it convicts the Jew of his sin. The reason that the Law convicts the Jew of his sin is so that he would find himself in the position of poverty in spirit (Mt 5: 3) so that he would see his need for Jesus.

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One Comment
  1. we praise the Lord for using you and wife in Zululand.

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