See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no "root of bitterness" springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;
In their wonderings from Egypt to Canaan, our fathers learned to become a new nation. Birthed in a worldwide culture of idolatry they learned to become a people with a sense of morality and humanity: Hashem’s people,. They learned that both good and evil has consequences and retribution not only in the sight of man, but in the sight of God, and that He is the One who establishes what is justice and righteousness.
One of Moses main point as he readies the people to enter the Promised Land is that being God’s people does not absolve us from the punishment of sin; that to the contrary, adoption into God’s Kingdom legally binds us to His rulings. Moses especially warns against the rationalization of sin. He says, Beware lest there be among you a man or woman … whose heart is turning away today from the LORD our God … Beware lest there be among you a root bearing poisonous and bitter fruit, … saying, 'I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart.' … The LORD will not be willing to forgive him, … (Deuteronomy 29:18-20). Many years later, the apostle uses the same imagery to warn the Israeli Messianic community of believers about the dangers of disobedience and sin (Hebrews 12:15-16).
Many seem to have an erroneous idea of ‘grace’. They see God’s abundant grace as some sort of divine unswerving ability to forgive our sins and wickedness. Any would be deity who absolves iniquity, sin and injustice without proper recompense and retribution is certainly not the God of Israel (Deuteronomy 29:20), and neither is he the god that Yeshua claims to be one in spirit and principle with (John 17:11).
The Corinthians’ congregations had a difficult time pulling out of their Hellenistic sensual culture. They often argued with Paul trying to rationalize sin and disobedience, especially along the lines of sexual immorality. They had a hard time to obey so to them Paul explained the purpose of God’s grace. He said that, God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8).
The expression ‘good works’ is not solely referring to charity and good deeds. It is the Hebrew word ‘mitzvah’ which refers to the commandments. It refers to charity, but only in the context that charity and good deeds are commandments from the Torah. The ‘grace’ given to us is like an extra ‘boost’ from the Holy Spirit to help us obey God’s commands such as charity and good deeds, but also the other ones. Grace therefore has nothing to do with forgiveness and absolution, but everything to do with the ability to obey God’s commandments. In fact, if we claim to have the grace of God, we even take away our excuse for disobedience.
May Hashem help us in properly evaluating our lives. May He deliver us from the evils caused by the rationalization of sin. May He give us His abundant grace that we may please Him through our obedience towards His will and commandments.