Grace and Law - I see things differently

The cumulation of differences between Christianity and Judaism can be summed up by how grace is seen to oppose the Law, and how the God of the Old Testament is often viewed as the old vengeful Law giver, while the God of the New Testament is viewed as a new happy Grace forgiver.

To this day, perhaps the biggest difference between Christianity and Judaism is Christianity's focus on grace (and ignorance of Law) and Judaism's focus on Law (and ignorance of Grace, or at least the grace Messiah's given).

What both sides fail to see is that the two are so intimately related, they cannot be opposed to each other. Without grace, we've all got death sentences over our heads, for we all have broken the Torah (Law), everyone's sinned. Without Law, grace is meaningless: if grace is God's undeserved forgiveness, what are we forgiven of, if not breaking of the Law?

When you hear phrases like "Grace vs. Law", run for cover. Such opposition is a false dichotomy, a superficial war created in the minds of those skimming Paul's letters without deeply understanding of the pillars of Scripture.

Grace is not opposed to Law, on the contrary, grace cannot exist without Law. The Law also should neither be the sole source of one's righteousness, as the Law's granting of righteousness relies on something weak and fragile: our obedience to God. Indeed, Law without grace and faith results in a life filled with meaningless ritual.

I leave you with First Fruits of Zion's excellent commentary on Grace and Law.

Parashat Hashavuah

Mishpatim - משפטים : “Judgments”
Torah : Exodus 21:1–24:18
Haftarah : Jeremiah 34:8–22; 33:25–26
Gospels : Mark 9

Grace vs. Law

Adapted from Torah Club Volume One
Unrolling the Scroll

Thought for the Week

Things get backward if we start to believe that we must keep God’s Law in order to be saved. Instead, we should keep God’s Law because we are saved.


This week’s Torah portion contains a lot of laws. Exodus 21–23 reads like an ancient legal code. Of the 613 commandments that the sages traditionally derive from the Torah, more than fifty of them are found in this week’s portion.

For some reason, many Christian teachers seem to view the laws of the Torah as if they are a bad thing. It is commonly taught that the law is the opposite of grace. You might hear someone say, “We are no longer under the law. We are under grace.” The implication is that since we have received the Messiah, we need not concern ourselves with the laws in the Old Testament. We can call this idea “Grace vs. Law.”

Let’s think about the Grace vs. Law idea. What do we mean when we say that we are not under the law? Does that mean we do not have to keep God’s rules? For example, does it mean that we can commit adultery and theft? Of course not. No one would say that. So what does it mean?

The Grace vs. Law concept is derived from the writings of Paul. In his epistles, it seems that Paul pits the two in opposition to each other. He often says things like “Before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law” (Galatians 3:23) and “If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law” (Galatians 5:18). One might misunderstand these statements to mean that Christians do not need to keep God’s rules. Of course, that would be absurd. Paul realized that some people might misunderstand his teaching, so he cautioned us not to suppose that grace gives us free license to sin against God:

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? (Romans 6:1–2)

Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law. (Romans 3:31)

If Paul was not teaching believers that they did not have to keep God’s rules, what was he talking about? In Paul’s day, many of the Jewish believers taught that before Gentiles could be part of the kingdom of heaven, they needed to become Jewish. The idea that a Gentile must become Jewish before being saved is what Paul calls being “under the law.” Paul believed that Gentiles became sons of Abraham and part of the people of God through faith in Messiah. They did not need to earn that status by becoming legally Jewish. They did not need to first come “under the law” in order to enter the kingdom.

The Bible does not actually teach the idea of Grace vs. Law. Grace is God’s free gift of salvation for those who believe in His Son. Law is His loving instruction for how His people should live. Grace vs. Law is a false dichotomy. They are not opposed to each other. They are meant to work hand in hand.

Middot U'Mitzvot (Character and Deeds)

Honoring Father and Mother

The Torah deems striking or cursing one’s parents as such a grave sin that it is worthy of death (Exodus 21:15). This may seem shocking to us. There is no indication that the parent was killed or even badly hurt in the altercation with the child. The mere act of hitting one’s father or mother is enough impudence that God deems it as bad as murder. This shows us how God’s values are sometimes different from ours. Of course, we would never advocate striking one’s father or mother, but neither would we feel comfortable putting someone to death for doing so. Family counseling, yes. Anger management classes, sure. Death by stoning? Probably not.

God sees it differently. When He says, “Honor your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12), He means it.

Similarly, Exodus 21:17 says, “He who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.” In God’s book, it is just as much of a sin to curse one’s parents or to strike them as it is to murder someone.

The extreme punishment for striking or cursing one’s parents teaches the importance that biblical religion places on the integrity and decency of the family. Rebellion, violence and insolence against one’s parents, whether physical or verbal, is as much a threat to the fabric of society as murder and kidnapping.

In today’s world, society teaches children, particularly teenagers, to disrespect their parents. It is normal to hear teenagers speak to their parents with impertinent and insolent words. It is embarrassing to be around a family where the children are out of order. Children who disrespectfully speak back to their parents are a public disgrace to their family. As a society, we have lost the biblical value of honoring father and mother. The apostle Paul warned that in the last days, a spirit of rebelliousness would be unleashed upon the world. He said that men will be “arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable” (2 Timothy 3:2–3). He advised us to “avoid such men as these” (2 Timothy 3:5).

Paul’s recommendation is good child-rearing advice. If you don’t want your child to grow up to be disrespectful and mouthy toward you, don’t have him socialize with other children who are disrespectful to their parents. It’s a serious matter. If you knew that your son’s peers were murderers and kidnappers, you would not allow him to be under their influence for even a moment. According to the Bible, children who scorn their parents are just as bad.

Now playing: Avner & Rachel Boskey - Temple Meditation
via FoxyTunes


  1. I only had time to scan this, but it looks to be an excellent teaching. Thank you. :^)

    I would like to share some understanding the Lord gave me to share with a Brother in Messiah, who was struggling with understanding grace and the Law. Please forgive typos and spelling, I didn't proof read it. :^)

    Email (1/25/08):
    Amen and amen. We are kindred.

    He is with us to deliver us... to this end He was born and died and rose again.

    All these things you suffer are the same as I suffered, yet we have the victory in Christ, who never ceases from being the Finisher of our faiths.
    I never found freedom from all these things waring in my members until I gave up and said "Lord I can not do it! Save me from myself and all this temptation and evil that surrounds me! In Your Holy name I cry out... save me oh Lord!"
    Did the temptations cease? Did they disappear? No... they remain with me as I remain in the flesh and in a world awash in sin. Yet in that moment their power over me evaporated and His strength was then made perfect in my absolute
    weakness... I then came to truly trust and abide in His Grace and this grace is now manifest in all my works showing that my faith is alive and not dead, rather my works become evidence of that faith, built up and resting solidly upon my renewed and solidified trust which can from total brokenness... no more pride or human power... humility of such a kind that testifies that Jesus is the Lord, the All in All.
    I was now able to stand up and show and fulfill that Grace in me by keeping the Law... for these are the first works the Lord requires be done in faith - this is to walk in His ways. The Law(10 Com.) was now established in me, no longer
    was it a stumbling block at me feet, but was now a joy and a blessing even my reasonable service in Christ toward God, in which He continually blesses me, and all those I come in contact with... My neighbors, my parents, my wife, my
    kids, even the stranger.
    Brother, this is why I teach the Law... it is not dead in those saved, but alive and being established until the day comes that it is truly written in our

    Jeremiah 31:33 -
    But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

    For NO prophet sent of God has ever failed to mention the keeping of the Holy Law, nor shall any, to come, fail to teach it or uphold it.

    Matthew 5:19
    Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    ...the Lord does not change (Malachi 3:6). Rather the error lies with men and the churches who have yet to come into the understanding of why the Law is Holy and becomes established in us because of the freedom we now have from it, according to its curse or penalty. It has not been abolished, nor ever can be (Matthew 5:18). Yea, the Law has become magnified in us, because of Him who magnifies it in Himself, being also the "end" or goal at which the Law was aimed.

    “I am come Not to Destroy the Law or the prophets. I am come Not to destroy, but to fulfill.” ~ Matthew 5:17

    For the goal at which the Torah (Law) aims is the Messiah, who offers righteousness to everyone who trusts. ~ Romans 10:4 CJB

    “but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the Commandments.” ~ Jesus (Matthew 19:17.)

    So the works of faith are in the keeping of the Law, because we are free not to. Yet to disobey God is sin as defined by the Law (1 John 3:4). Keeping the Law is obedience to God and therefore the opposite of sin - righteousness, and in this is our love made perfect, because the Law is holy and just and good
    (Romans 7:12).

    See brother... we are not perfect we will can not at present keep it perfectly, but He in us has done it and will TEACH us how to keep it and grant us the Grace and strength to uphold it. He is the Author and Finisher (Hebrews 12:2)... we are the students who abide in His grace, KNOWING we need Him every
    step of the way.
    Therefore, all who say we are in Christ and strive not to obey the Law are liars and will be found to be as such in the Day. For how shall we show Christ in us but by walking as He walked.

    Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in
    Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. ~ (1 John 2:3-6.)

    And any who claim to be Christians, evening doing many great works in His name, yet do not keep the Law (Lawlessness) shall in no wise escape the Day of the Lord, but will be left to refinement in the heat of the Day of the Lord (1Corinthians 3:10 - 15), having the Lord say to them "I never knew you"...

    Matthew 7:21-23 -
    21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' 23 And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice LAWLESSNESS!'

    Jesus walked in obedience to the Father and upheld and taught the Law, even showing us how to not transgress, even how to prevent us from transgression outwardly. Showing us that transgression starts in the heart first. (i.e.: To lust after another is adultery in the heart and likewise hate is murder in the heart.)
    Therefore, the Law is an inward obedience first, which is then reflected outwardly. So then, if we love the Lord God with all the heart and all the mind and all the strength and love our neighbor as ourself... what then, has the Law
    now become in us? - Yes, established and fulfilled.

    "Do we then make void the Law through faith? God forbid. Yea, we establish the Law." (Romans 3:31.)

    But how can we do this without Christ? For He is how we come to know and love the Father (John 14:9) and by Him we come also to love our neighbor and ourself, so we can love them as ourself. Therefore Christ is love and the Law is also love, because He and it are of the Father and are in the Father. Love is the fulfillment of the Law and the Law, in keeping it, is love, in action, toward God, and to others, also blessing us in the keeping of it. Love given is also love received. And who is love? God is love (1 John 4:8) and that love is manifest in Christ, who is in the Father, just as the Father is in the Son (John 10:38)... the
    Father and the Son are one (John 10:30).

    Which leads me back to Jesus being the Author and Finisher... For He is the WORD of God as we know from John 1, and so, He is the Author of all things, even the Author of the Law and the Finisher of it...the fulfillment of all things... finishing the Law in us, not destroying it (Matthew 5:17). Also
    saying "it is a process My beloved little ones"... until the day comes that we are one in Him and He in us (John 17:21). And that is also the day when our faith will come to its completion and likewise will the Law be truly written in our hearts even in our inward parts (Jeremiah 31:33).

    "Behold the new Day, a rest and a Sabbath, a Holy Convocation, lasting for one day in the Lord...peace a one-thousand years... says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel."

    Brother the Lord put this understanding in my head just before I checked my emails. I believe it was for you and those who have ears to hear... once again
    in the completing of our faiths through more understanding received of Him, our Teacher and Lord.

    Yours in Christ's great love,

  2. Shalom Judah!
    I luved the Grace vs. Law!
    It was really well talked through.
    In case your not familar with this site, this is one in which I get really good teachings from as well as First Fruits..

    Last one ~

    BOth really good Messianic teachers..


  3. So actually its "Grace AND the Law" and not "Grace VERSUS the Law"


  4. Precisely, Timothy. :-) Thanks for the long first comment, by the way. I've yet to digest the whole thing, but will comment once I get through it all.

    Blessings to you in our Messiah.

  5. I am working on finishing the Bible study I did called, "Is Jesus the 'end' of the Law?!" I've made it 3 times as long and am waiting for my wife to type it. :^)

    I will post it at when I am done and would very much appreciate your input.

    Your Brother in Messiah's service,