Why do I believe that the Torah is applicable for all believers in Messiah?; that the whole Bible is to be followed? This is intended as an introduction for traditional Christians, but I pray that others will also find it educational. A question you may ask is “Why is Chaz writing these posts?” I want anyone who cares to read my work to know that I have found deeper truth with following Torah than in all my years in traditional church (the Meat rather than the Milk) and I wish to share it with anybody who will listen!
(Unless indicated otherwise, all quotes from Scripture are from the KJV, with Divine names restored to the original Hebrew.)
In the first installment I explored the perfection of Scripture and the Unity of the Father and of Son, which leads me to live Torah to the best of my ability. I do not keep Torah to BE saved, I do it BECAUSE I am saved. I had mentioned there how Yeshua/Jesus did not teach new doctrine, but only Father YHWH’s.
What is the Father’s doctrine? Proverbs 4:2: For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. Psalm 119:142: Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth. Psalm 119:151:Thou art near, O YHWH; and all thy commandments are truth. Exodus 18:20: And thou (Moses) shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.
Now let’s look at the book of Exodus. The Israelites entered into covenant with YHWH at Mt. Sinai. He had just led them out of bondage in Egypt, provided salvation through the blood of the Passover Lamb, and baptized them in the Red Sea. YHWH then told them that IF they obeyed His rules, THEN they would be blessed, and be His peculiar treasure. Salvation was not part of the covenant equation–it happened before the covenant. The rules showed them how to love their Creator and love their neighbors. The rules are the ways of the kingdom in which they lived, to be in Covenant with their Creator.
Notice, too, that He led them out of the bondage of Egypt, which is an allegory of sin. How can being put into Covenant (with His rules and instructions) be considered bondage? If you are in a happy marriage covenant, are you in bondage?
Both old and new testament writers found the Father’s law delightful:
Psalm 40:8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
Psalm 119:174 I have longed for thy salvation, O YHWH; and thy law is my delight.
Romans 7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man.
If you were born a Gentile, as I was, then we were not in Covenant with the Father, by definition. The Good News is that we can be brought in. We can be grafted into the olive branch of Israel through faith. John wrote in his first epistle, He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son hath not life 1 John 5:12. To have the Son is to believe in Him, that He was born as a man, went to Calvary to shed His blood as Atonement, was buried for three days and three nights, and was raised to Glory to give us eternal life in the Resurrection. But is “believing” enough?
BELIEF and FAITH
Most will say “All you must do is believe on Him. Grace is an unmerited, free gift from God.” I agree! NOTHING we can do earns us the smallest bit of Grace! Only by accepting Yeshua’s free gift can we be acceptable to the Almighty. Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of YHWH.
The Greco-Roman mindset of modern society defines “belief” as a conviction, faith, or trust in something or someone. It tends to be more of a mental construct. The Hebrew language, on the other hand, is action oriented. To believe in something also meant doing something to show it.
James 2:19-20, addressing non-Jewish readers, told us that Faith without Works is dead: Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
James also wrote: Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves James 1:21-22.
The demons “believe” or know about God, but they do not, literally cannot “do” these Good Works, the Commandments, because they do not love Him.
Easton’s Bible Dictionary (1897) says this about good works:
“The gospel of salvation by grace shows that good works are necessary. It is true, unchangeably true, that without holiness no man shall see the Lord. “Neither adulterers, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards” shall inherit the kingdom of God.
Works are “good” only when, (1) they spring from the principle of love to God. The moral character of an act is determined by the moral principle that prompts it. Faith and love in the heart are the essential elements of all true obedience. Hence good works only spring from a believing heart, can only be wrought by one reconciled to God (Eph 2:10; Jam 2:18:22). (2.) Good works have the glory of God as their object; and (3) they have the revealed will of God as their only rule (Deu 12:32; Rev 22:18,19).
Good works are an expression of gratitude in the believer’s heart (Jhn 14:15,23; Gal 5:6). They are the fruits of the Spirit (Tts 2:10-12), and thus spring from grace, which they illustrate and strengthen in the heart.
Good works of the most sincere believers are all imperfect, yet like their persons they are accepted through the mediation of Jesus Christ (Col 3:17), and so are rewarded; they have no merit intrinsically, but are rewarded wholly of grace.”
Loving our Creator should be done the way He wants, not how we think we should. 1 John 5:3 For this is the love of YHWH, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous. Deuteronomy 30:11 and 16 (NIV) tells us the same thing: Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. For I command you today to love YHWH your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and YHWH your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
This brings up a point that a lot of Christians will say about trying to keep the Law. “It’s too hard to keep” and “if you fail in one point in the Law, you’ve failed them all (from James 2:10), so why try?” That is not what First John and Deuteronomy just told us!
Let’s take a look at the context of James, verses 8-13:
8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.
James is not only talking about “old” testament Law here, but what applies to Christians also–adultery and murder are Ten Commandment laws and “the Royal Law” quoted by Yeshua is from Leviticus 19:18.
Another point about keeping Torah as being “too hard”: have you ever quoted Philippians 4:13, saying “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”? That is how I do it–not on my own strength, but by His.
I’ve heard it said that Christians already unknowingly keep about 85% of the Torah, just by living a “good Christian life.” The main points that are missed are keeping the Sabbath on the seventh day as He commanded, observing the Biblical holy days, wearing tzitzit, and being circumcised. Are these too hard to do? Not at all! I love to do them. I find peace and contentment doing them. Care to join me?
This concludes part two. Next time I will discuss the unchanging character of the Almighty and why that makes me keep Torah also.