Import jQuery

Torah in Christianity

In a recent post, it would seem I've touched a nerve by saying God's commandments (the Torah/the Law/the first 5 books of the Jewish & Christian bibles) should be followed to the best of one's ability. My post wasn't meant to offend believers in Messiah, but at the same time, I'm glad it sparked some healthy debate. As long as it's done in love, I've no problem with debating Christian theology.

Perhaps I can persuade gentile Christians by asking the following questions: Do we or do we not observe the 10 Commandments? Do we try to do what Jesus would do (WWJD)? Do we believe there is such a thing as sin?

Answer yes to any of the previous 3 questions, and you've committed yourself to upholding the Law. :-)

For example, the 10 Commandments are part of the Law; one might call them a summary of God's commandments in the Law.

And on living like Jesus, Jesus kept God's commandments. We draw this conclusion given this evidence: his telling others to keep God's commandments (Matt 5, Mark 1:40-45), Paul's stating that the commandments define sin; with Scripture's assertion that Jesus never sinned, it implies Jesus followed God's commandments perfectly. Also, Jesus' own actions: he celebrated the Biblical holidays (Passover, Unleavened Bread, and others) defined in the Law, told others to keep the Law (Matt 5), and finally, we have no evidence of Jesus ever breaking a commandment. WWJD? I'll answer that question: for starters, he'd follow God's commandments.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

-Jesus, in his fundamentals of the faith sermon in Matthew's gospel

Sometimes we tend to ignore Scripture like the above because it doesn't fit our modern, Western doctrines. We instead favor of some of Paul's statements about the Law, causing the confusion we have on the law today.

The next piece is sin: if you believe in sin (that is, right and wrong in God's eyes), then one must also believe in the Law, which defines sin.

The purpose of the Law

One attractive piece of the Law for Christianity is its clear guidelines for right and wrong. The New Testament isn't a book of laws, but rather, a book about Messiah; so without a clear guideline for right and wrong, we're left with confusion. And confusion has abounded: look at some modern "progressive" Christian churches, such as the United Church of Christ, where sexual immorality including homosexuality among church pastors is both tolerated and accepted. Without the Law, how do we know homosexuality is wrong?

The Law has a perfectly legitimate function. Without its clear guidelines for right and wrong, moral behavior would be mostly guesswork. Apart from the succinct, surgical command, "You shall not covet," I could have dressed covetousness up to look like a virtue and ruined my life with it.

-Paul, in his letter to Rome

Paul's right on about the coveting commandment, but the same could be said for the other 612 commandments in the Law, everything from lying to cheating to stealing to sexual immorality to murder. It's all laid out in God's commandments in the Law, and without it, we have no guide, no absolute mappings, of what's right and wrong.

But just having the Law sitting there does no good; we try to follow God's commandments, but even then we still sin; we're a sinful lot and enjoy doing evil things. Paul comments on this:

I've spent a long time in sin's prison. What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing the very things I absolutely despise. So if I can't be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God's commands, the Law, is necessary.

But I need something more! For if I know the Law but still can't keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in the Law, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question?

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus the Messiah can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

-Paul, in his letter to Rome

This is a key few understand: the Law is necessary to tell us what sin is, however, it does not save us from sin. Paul says of the Law and it's saving power:

Messiah redeemed us from that old sinful life by absorbing the Law completely into himself. Do you remember the Scripture that says, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"? That is what happened when Jesus was nailed to the cross: He became a curse, and at the same time dissolved the curse of death that breaking the Law brings. The Law alone never made anyone righteous; you must have faith before you're set straight with God. Anything less is nothing but rule-following.

-Paul, in his letter to Galatia

He's right, if you don't believe in God but follow the Law, you're still nothing. It isn't a slam on the Law so much as it is a glorification of faith in God. Faith is so important, that without it, all our good behavior amounts to nothing. James confirms this:

If you really keep the Law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

Do you want evidence that faith without works is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead.

-James, in his letter to the 12 tribes of Israel dispersed through the world

An interesting correlation! If we don't have faith, following the commandments is useless (one might say certain modern Judaic Jews fall under this grouping). However, if we have faith but don't have works, our faith is useless (I contend that some modern Christians fall under this grouping). What works is James speaking of? The only "works" defined in Scripture, of course: the Law -- he says it it right there in the text.

You're already following the Law, more or less

Most Christians follow the Law without explicitly knowing it, at least to some degree. We don't murder, for example, and we don't curse, lie, and so on. At least, that's what we preach, and we try to live like this. Wouldn't you know it, all those things we refrain from are sins, defined in the Law. Paul comments on this interesting development of Law-following gentiles without them ever having known the Law:

If you sin without knowing what you're doing, God takes that into account. But if you sin knowing full well what you're doing, that's a different story entirely. Merely hearing the Law is a waste of your time if you don't actually do it. Doing, not hearing, is what makes the difference with God.

When gentiles like you who have never heard of the Law follow it more or less by instinct, you confirm its truth by your obedience. This shows that the Law is not something alien, imposed on us from without, but woven into the very fabric of our creation. There is something deep within us that echoes God's yes and no, right and wrong. Our response to God's yes and no will become public knowledge on the day God makes his final decision about every man and woman. The message from God that I proclaim through Jesus the Messiah takes into account all these differences.

-Paul, in his letter to Rome

Interesting, eh? So if you're already following the Law, more or less, then what am I babbling on about? Well, I am addressing the false doctrine that the Law has been abolished. I hope by now you agree that it is not abolished and has a very real purpose for today. Also, gentile believers in Messiah are fine with the Law until it requires them to make a lifestyle change. For example, the commandments about not murdering, not lying, not cheating: we're all hunky-dory with those. But those commandments that would require of us to change our diet, or stop working for the Lord's day of rest, well, we kind of fudge it and cherry pick what we want to define as right and wrong. That in itself is not right, and is what I'm addressing in this post.

Paul mentions above how we shouldn't sin (break the Law). Does a Christian man murder? Does a believer in God commit adultery? Every man sins, so yes, even Christians do these things. The difference for us is that we know those things do not please God, so we do our best to refrain from those things. We try to do good works and try to live a Godly life. But how do we know what's Godly? How do we know what's good? How do we even know murder, stealing, lying, cheating is wrong? The author of 1 John tells us all these things:

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and we're liars. If we admit that we have sinned and turn from those things, God is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word and his commands mean nothing.

My dear children, I write this to keep you from sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus the Messiah, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commandments. The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what God commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys the commandments in his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

What does God command? Did Jesus preach some commands different that God's commands?
There is only one set of commandments, my brothers in Messiah. Messiah taught something not foreign or new, and he didn't come to start a new religion. What a terrible shame our modern doctrines have placed this dark, negative connotation on God's commandments.

One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing a question they hoped would show him up: "Teacher, which command in the Law is the most important?"

Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' These two commands are pegs; everything in the Law and the Prophets hangs from them."

-Jesus, in Matthew's gospel

If the Law can be summed up as loving God and loving others, what's the problem, my friends? A common denominator of those 2 commands is love. Surely, if the sum total of the commandments is love, why are we even debating the Law?

If the commandments are kept, keep them out of love for God. Knowing full well the Law cannot make us righteous on its own merits, keep the commandments because we love God and love his ways. Likewise, we know that without obeying God's commandments, our faith is worthless. Make your faith worth something by living what you preach.


  1. I guess I am continuing my inquiry from the last post. Obviously all of the commandments of God are good. Most are straight forward and clearly apply today. Some are difficult to maintain this day in age. I have already broken a mitzvot in this post by using the name of God. For those that may not be familiar with the list we are discussing you may look at
    I brought up the food law last time as I expect it to be fairly free from fiery response. Still I do not separate meat and dairy. In fact I routinely eat meat and dairy together. This is apparently a sin?
    I am confused by statements like those that Paul makes in Galatians. Circumcision is clearly a command mentioned in both Genesis and Leviticus, but Paul says it's OK to not be Circumcised. What does that say about the rest of the commandments?
    I think we differ in temperament rather than kind. I allow for the culture to dictate somewhat what is acceptable for me to do. After all despite the clear acceptance of slavery in the Torah, most modern believers think of the practice as evil.

    Pat O

  2. "If the commandments are kept, keep them out of love for God. Knowing full well the Law cannot make us righteous on its own merits, keep the commandments because we love God and love his ways. Likewise, we know that without obeying God's commandments, our faith is worthless. Make your faith worth something by living what you preach."

    Isn't that a contradiction? You link the law to righteousness "on its own merits" suggesting must obey the Law along with faith to be saved. Earlier you said that we all continue to sin and we more or less try to obey the law. If the Law had anything to do with your righteiousness before God, would you not be required to keep every fragment of the law?

    If a person does not obey the law, what would "our faith is worthless" mean? Salvation lost?

    As the other comment, if Paul taught that Circumcision was not required (which is obvious since it was required by the law), then by the statement here he would be the least in heaven, as he taught someone to break the law, correct?

    I might have been looking in the wrong place, but in your quotes from James I did not see anything about "So speak ya, and so do, as men that are to be judged by a law of liberty" (ASV) along with the verses that followed it which imply he is talking about works as being showing mercy, giving of food to the poor, etc, not the Royal Law (as is written such in several translation as referring to the Laws of Moses).

    Got to go, more another time.

  3. Judah, the heart of your post is certainly in the right place, but I don't believe that Scripture supports the technicalities of your position. The easiest conflict to point out would be

    Exodus 20:10 (NASB), "but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you."

    in contrast with

    Romans 14:5-6 "One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God."

    If Paul took the position your post seems to describe, he would never have written the section I just quoted. Instead, he would have clearly shown people the error of their ways, as he did in many other portions of his writings.

    Note that I am not in any way indicating that the Bible is in conflict with itself. Galatians 3:24-25 seems very clear to me: "Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor."

    (I don't know whether you intend to reply to this, but I rarely read comments after reading the associated post. So, another blog entry or an email (via CodeProject?) would be best.)

    John Fisher

  4. Patrick:

    Eating meat and dairy is perfectly fine, it's a rabbinical, oral law that says "don't mix dairy", not a God-commandment. There is a God-commandment about not boiling a calf in its mother's milk, the reason being it was a pagan practice of Canaanites at the time of the Israelites.

    Using God's name is not breaking a commandment. (Using God's name in vain or cursing it, is breaking a commandment.) Still, you didn't use God's name in your post. (God's name is not "God".)

    Regarding slavery, there is no commandment to hold slaves. I actually just posted a blog post on this just the other week, have a look if you get a chance: blog post touching on slavery in the Bible. The Law only regulates the already-existing practice to an almost impossibility. Paul also addresses slavery, by the way. But neither New Testament nor Old Testament commands anyone to hold slaves.


    Rocky, I don't think one has to obey the Law to be saved, but rather, your outward actions should show your inward salvation if Messiah is in you. That is, if you've got Messiah, you shouldn't be sinning without remorse. I think we agree on this point.

    James says our faith is worthless if we don't act in the physical. That is, if I talk about God all day, but don't live Godly at all, my faith is worthless. Abraham's faith was great when he believed in God, but his faith was backed up by action (his willingness to even sacrifice Isaac). James 2 covers this pretty well, and mentions specifically the Law in that chapter and its link to faith. Faith and works are certainly intertwined.

    Regarding Paul, I contend he did not teach others to *not* circumcise; after all, he himself circumcised Timothy, he performed a Nazirite vow, he celebrated Passover. He did, however, teach that circumcision did not lead to salvation, as some in the Galatian camp were doing. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's my take on it, anyways. I'm open to hearing your thoughts on that if you have a different view.


    John, I contend that Paul is telling us in that chapter to put love and unity in Messiah above all differences in dietary or observational habit.

    I'm glad you brought that up though: I just finished studying that chapter and transcribing it to the Epistles of Paul blog. Seems to me Paul is focused on putting love above any differences between believers. That's all. That doesn't contradict the Law, doesn't contradict Jesus, or the apostles, or even Paul's earlier agreement with the apostles in Acts regarding which laws should gentile believers follow.

    If you're having doubts whether Paul told gentile Christians to follow the Law, check out Paul's and the apostles' agreement about this in Acts 15:

    "It is our judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For Moses is preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath."

    In other words, he's starting off gentile Christians with just 4 of the big commandments from the Law (essentially, the Noahide laws from the Law). After that, they'll hear Moses in the synagogues every Sabbath, and they'll pick up the whole of the Law there.

    Interestingly, modern gentile Christians do not even follow those 4 major ones the apostles and Paul all agreed to.

  5. "Interestingly, modern gentile Christians do not even follow those 4 major ones the apostles and Paul all agreed to."

    I think maybe you are equating cults like "The Unitied Church Christ" with "gentile Christian" churches. No Christians I know break violate those four rules. There are a great number of demoniations and most do not accept things such as homosexuality nor evolution (one of my big beefs lately ;) ).

    I believe there is a law for Christians, but it is not the law of Moses, it is what is known in the NT as "the law of liberty". It is that we now longer are bound to sin as prior to grace, but at the same time it does not mean we can have sin in our lifes.

    In Romans it says we are not under condemnation if we walk after the Spirit (big S here) and not after our flesh. That is, as long as we listent to the Holy Spirit, we will not fulfil the lust of our flesh. What is the flipside to that statement? If we ignore the Holy Spirit and walk after our flessh to fulfil its lust....

    The law showed us that you needed a saviour and that no man is without sin other than Yeshua. Must like God said, "so, you think you can be perfect on your own, here follow these rules or die". He knew no one could follow them, but it was to prove to us not Him that we could not be righteous.

    Once Yeshua came and fulfilled the Law of Moses, we are no longer bound by that Law, the law of sin and death, and now we have a new law, the law of liberty written in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. If our heart convicts of us of sin it is sin.

    Good works (our relationship with others and how we treat them) is the basis for the Law of Liberty. It is that changing of the heart that is required.

    Unfortunately, we can harden our hearts and not listen to the Holy Spirit and move from light to darkness. Our will is always ours and we must keep it subject to Yeshua which as Romans says, is our reasonible service.

    So, I agree we must have fruit, that our life should show the love of God that resides in our, as in James, those that show mercy, mercy shall be shown to them, etc. I disagree it is by keeping the law of Moses and living under rules and regulations that no one can do.

  6. Rocky, you're right, I should've said, some gentile Christians, certainly not all. My mistake, I should have been more careful with my words. I know Messiah-believers like yourself don't indulge in sexual immorality freely without remorse. Obviously, there are some that *do*, like our UCC example, but not all by any means.

    The refraining from blood and strangled meat, however, is something almost all gentile Christians don't observe. At least, I've never known a Christian to, say, hold off on a rare steak in honor of this commandment by the apostles.


    I think you're right about living by the Spirit. It is my belief that if one walks in the Spirit, you're ultimately going to be following most of the Law, or at least, the core parts of the Law -- refraining from sexual immorality, cursing, lying, cheating, and so on -- and instead living in love, which Messiah said is what the Law boils down to. If the Law defines sin, as Paul states, then walking in the Spirit would mean you're turning away from sin, ultimately walking in the commandments.

    Rocky, you said "living under rules and regulations no one can do". Essentially you're saying, "no one can live sinless". Yes, of course no one can live a sinless life. That doesn't mean we throw up our hands and give up. Instead, we rely on Messiah to help us overcome sin in our lives.

    Regarding the Law of Liberty, Rocky, what is the Law of Liberty? Liberty to do what? Is it liberty to break the Law? To do whatever one wants? No, if that were the case, the United Church of Christ would be right in its acceptance of sexual immorality. The Law of Liberty is not a free pass to sin. The Law of Liberty is freedom *from* sin, not freedom *to* sin. It's no wonder, then, that Jesus said the Law is not abolished, because if it were, it would imply sin doesn't exist anymore.

    This is what Paul meant when he said we're not under the Law any longer: we are not bound by its penalty because Messiah did us this huge favor of coming to earth as a man, making the final atoning sacrifice (completing the Law), and taking our penalty with Him. That's liberty: not being under the penalty of the Law (death) any longer.

    Now that Yeshua has taken our penalty, does that mean we're free to trample the Law, and sin as much as we please? Both Paul throughout Romans and the author of Hebrews (in particular, Heb. 11) both address this pretty thoroughly; being the strong believer that you are, I assume you already know the answer.

  7. Nice chat, I like when people can share and not get violent. That keeps me away from must public forums as they seem to get very angry. Here comes a little longer one ;)

    Sin was clearly defined by the law for “those” under law. Do you think that before Moses there was no sin? Or that maybe if they did not rest on the Sabbath they sinned and were condemned for it without even knowing about it? How did God make judgment on people before Moses or what law was Abraham under?

    The new covenant is not by law but by Spirit. As was referred to earlier, the schoolmaster was for those under the law which is no longer required as God has wrote His law, not Moses law, in our hearts through the Holy Spirit to convict us of our sin (not transgression of the Mosaic law) but the law of Liberty.

    1 John 3:18-24 shows us that the law of God is written in our heart, that if our heart condemns us we have sinned, but if our heart does not condemn us we have not sinned as long as we do what is pleasing in His sight. Okay, wait a minute, I think I know what you are thinking, no the Mosaic law is not the definition of what is pleasing, John goes on to say that the commandment of God is that we should believe in the name of His Son Yeshua and love one another as Yeshua mentioned before in the Gospel of John.

    There is nothing wrong with a person holding to the law of Moses the best they can if they desire, it is not required though. I do think Christians should revisit more of the Jewish culture, for example the feasts (not meaning feeding, but as you know history) as we will celebrate these things throughout the millennium kingdom and that rich Jewish culture should be a part of everyone.

    Anyway, back to the point, in Colossians 2:8-12 he talks about being buried in baptism and risen with Yeshua through faith, by the circumcision of the Messiah and not of the flesh. That being dead in our sins and uncircumcised in our flesh (our new life) we are quickened together with Him. We are born again, we are no longer charged by God of any crime nor under the rules of the past. There if any man be in the Messiah, he is a new creation and old things have passed away and all things are now new. This is not just the rabbinic laws or just part of the law, we are dead and raised with the Messiah to a new life without the Mosaic law, we have a new law that is written in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, not in letter but in deed.

    More over in 2 Corinthians chapter 3 gives details of the law of Liberty in the new covenant, the ministration of the spirit not of death, that the law is no longer on stone, but now written in our hearts. Now the Lord is that Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. It is the Spirit that transforms us and guides us, not the letter of the law. The schoolmaster is no longer needed as we have God's law of Liberty written in our hearts.

    The law of liberty is about how we treat ourselves and others. The reason I put ourselves in there is that we cannot treat ourself badly and still have good relationships with others. I agree with you it is all about love! "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if you have love one to another"!

  8. Yeah, it has been a good chat. You know, when I posted the blog post, I almost took it down in anticipation of an onslaught of personal attacks.

    I'm so accustomed to attacks from atheists, Jews, and often times Christians for the things I believe. I talk about Messiah among Jews, and get attacked for it. I talk about God among atheists and get attacked for it. I talk about Torah among Christians and get attacked for it. But you, Patrick, and John have all spoken in love and have not lashed out and attacked me -- I really appreciate that! -- this fact really shows me that you've got Messiah in you; it's not something you just talk about. Good example of Messiah. :-)

    I was singing some praises on the guitar last night, and while I was playing, I started praying about this conversation and the posts you guys made yesterday. I asked that God would show me where I go wrong in my beliefs. I meant that, I want to know the truth. God reminded me that when the time comes to stand before God, things like who won a theological debate will mean nothing.

    God also told me I am supposed to bless all 3 of you. You've actually encouraged me and strengthened my faith in Messiah by your demonstration of love despite our theological differences. So be blessed! Here's a blessing Jews customarily give every sabbath. It was Aaron's blessing over Israel:

    The Lord bless and keep you
    And make his face shine on you
    And be gracious to you
    Let him lift up his countenance on you
    And give you shalom.

    Now, back to debating a little. :-) You mentioned that following the Law is OK, but not required. I agree it's not required for salvation. It brings up an interesting point, though: if a man believes in Messiah, but then lives a horrific, sinful, loveless life, non-repentant of sin, is he still saved?

    I also wonder what becomes of the Law and its purpose, if not to follow it? Given the standard gentile Christian stance on the Law, how does one interpret Jesus' words on the Law? Isn't it possible modern western Christian doctrine is wrong on this issue?

  9. Mm, another thing comes to mind: in the Law, God tells Israel that it is an everlasting covenant, that is, it is an agreement between Israel and God forever. Surely Messiah didn't break this covenant or somehow bring it to an end...what do you think?

  10. I do not say the first convenant is gone, but it would have to be followed by the letter which no one can do other than Yeshua.

    Hebrews chapter 8 says that the first covenant had a fault and taht is why a second convenant was required and continues to say the old is made obsolete by the new.

    This does not mean the prior covenant is no longer valid, under Yeshua it is no longer required.

  11. Judah, your understanding of the main thrust of the Romans passage is correct. However, it is also the same reason behind the apostles instructions to the Gentiles. Remember that they wanted to avoid offending others, which Romans also discusses.

    However, you've avoided the most critical portion of my post. Galatians 3 is specifically discussing the relationship between Christians and the law.

    Also, don't forget all the laws about sacrifices. We clearly aren't expected to obey those anymore. How do you decide where the line is between "keep these" and "forget those" if you don't take Galatians at face value?

    John Fisher

  12. There is no picking and choosing: you do all that you can. Follow each of God's commandments as best as you can. That's all.

  13. it's been encouraging following this thread and being a witness to some healthy debate. so kudos to you guys for following through in such manner. this subject has been a hot topic since _forever_ and it's always been problematic for me in my walk [from the beginning] since the arguments are very strong either way. and of course, the biblical references are quoted to "support" each particular argument. trying to follow both has certainly helped me find my bearings in the bible. but at the end of it, both arguments still stand. i was offered a different perspective recently while discussing feasts and festivals [thanks, Judah for your postings on these] which helped me, at least, bridge some differences and look at this from a slightly different angle.

    while we argue the merits of feasts and festivals, and law, and keeping them as post-modern western society Christians, we still continue to celebrate feasts and festivals of *some kind* and hold ourselves accountable to *some law*. we [traditionally speaking] celebrate christmas and easter while subjecting ourselves to the laws of society. In addition, our lives are directed by the laws of humanity. by this i include all those old-wives' tales, proverbs, superstitions, idiomatic expressions and such like which we use to defend or promote a particular course of action. we also use them to understand our world.

    outside of the arguments of wether we do or don't follow the Law to it's fullness [and perhaps even including these arguments], i think we sell ourselves short of God's fullness by not choosing to subject ourselves to His laws and celebrations, rather than the ones we substitute through tradition. the law without the Spirit we know to be completely inadequate, but now, having God's Spirit, understanding the law in application *should* be a whole lot easier.

    i think we too readily settle for second prize when it comes to celebrating shallow festivals like christmas or easter, when we could be experiencing and living out a fuller meaning with added depth when engaging and celebrating passover, pentecost, and tabernacles [with all their depth]. and with law, we need rules anyway. we even make up our own rules to "cope" with life and support our goals and ambitions. so why not look at God's perfect law _first_, follow the Spirit of the law by understanding the letter and apply that in some way? if we don't even bother, maybe we're just missing out on so much more?

    so that's the encouragement aspect. maybe mix it in with each angle and see how it impacts? and so wether following the law or not and how that impacts on your salvation and definition of of what a Christian is... that's the ongoing debate. but by not doing it, what do you substitute? and how does that impact on the fullness of your relationship in getting to know God more?

    then of course, there is the question that while we are so ready to defend the bastions of traditional easter and chritmas, we are equally equipped to flame the festivals of the LORD and relegate them to legalism.
    and while we defend the laws of our country, society or community [even church] and the traditional mindset handed down to us by our forefathers, we are equally prepared to sledge against the laws of God simply because they don't fit. understanding that intrigues me somewhat :)

  14. Bryan,

    Excellent, brother! Thanks for posting that. Beautifully put, I've nothing to add to it. Well said on all counts.

    Thanks for stopping by & posting. Take care.


  15. Judah, I don't mean to sound sarcastic, but this is the major point, and you kinda missed it (or just chose not to deal with it?).

    If you're not picking and choosing which of the OT laws to obey, when do you sacrifice the sheep?

    I suggest you do your own study on the Judaisers that Paul had to argue against in the NT.

    John Fisher

  16. I already addressed it: you do everything you can. Follow as many of God's laws you can, that's all.


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