My Christian friends call me a “legalist.” My Jewish friends call me a Christian even though some of them are not quite sure how to label me due to my belief that the whole Word of God is to be obeyed. It is difficult for those that reject Yahshua as Messiah to understand that He brought me to obedience. Regardless, the Word has promised that I have been “grafted in” with Israel by the Grace of God through my Faith.
How can I explain what seems to be a contradiction to Christians? What are the missing pieces of the puzzle? It’s not like I haven’t tried to explain. But isn’t there something more to Christianity than just “believing?” Does Gods Love end there? Is there something greater promised that Christians, and the world, can avail themselves of?
At no time have I ever told a Christian brother or sister that they are not “saved” by their faith. That would be the most ridiculous of statements to make. The Word is very clear on this matter: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” Eph_2:8
I ask them now: What comes next? Now that you are saved by grace through your faith, what do you do now? “Spread the Word and the Love of Jesus” is one answer, that is said in many different ways, that comes to mind. Spread the Word? All of it? Or just part of it? So many more questions come to mind with every answer given.
But what comes next on a personal basis? Is “believing” all there is to it? Is that the end of it? This is where it gets difficult. They know that if they say anything about obedience they will be in agreement with me. Wouldn’t that be the end of the discussion? It appears not.
For the moment lets focus on the foundation of the main issue. We can come back to the finer details at another time. No sense in taking a side track to questions that will most certainly arise and can be answered as we continue to enrich our faith through study of His Word with prayer.
We all agree that Grace is the free and unmerited favor of God shown towards man and that grace cannot be “earned.” We also agree that Sin results in death and Grace results in being saved from death.
Faith is the believing, committing and trusting in God and His Word. It is the foundation and source of all of our behavior. Christians agree with the New Testament claims that Yahshua is the Word. Yahshua walked and practiced Gods Word perfectly and thus was defined as “the Word made Flesh.” Yahshua is the ultimate manifestation of Grace and Love from God. Therefore, Faith in God, Faith in Gods Word and Faith in Yahshua are all one and the same.
Now the difficult part. “Obedience.” If I were to ask a Christian if they thought they were “obedient” to Christ the answer would be in the affirmative. But why is obedience to Torah questioned? Why is obedience to Torah (instructions) anathema? Where is the hypocrisy found when someone that believes Yahshua is Messiah falls into obedience with Torah? How can Christians support the claim that Torah is for Jews only? Isn’t that the essence of the claim? Were there not “strangers” among Israel during the Exodus? Are we not “grafted in” with / to Israel? And did we not receive the same “Gospel” as they did? [The answer to the last 3 questions are easily found within the Scriptures.]
Obedience is the resulting output of believing, committing and trusting Gods Word after Faith has already been established. It is the “doing” of your proclaimed inward faith. Obeying God is simply a matter of obeying His “instructions.” Torah = Instructions.
When one believes with all their heart, soul and mind that something is true, consequently, one behaves and acts as though it is true by completely applying it in their life to the best of their ability.
There are two paths available to us. The broad path is in unbelieving and leads to the curse of death. The narrow path is the desire, through faith, to practice the Word demonstrating evidence of our faith which results in Blessings.
Blessings. This is the part that a lot of us miss. I know I did. There was a time when I thought being saved was blessing enough! But there is so much more that God wants to give us if we would just allow it.
The Law Blesses (obey) and Curses (disobey).
Deu 11:26 – 28 “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.”
Psalm 112:1 “Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.”
Psalm 119:1-2 “ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.”
Psalm 128:1 “A Song of degrees. Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.”
Isaiah 56:2 “Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.”
See also Matt. 5:6, Luke 11:28, and Matt. 5:10
James 1:25 “But who looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues in it, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in what he does.”
Revelation 22:12 “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”
Obedience is what leads to our reward. This is precisely why Yahshua states that those who remove a “jot or tittle” from the law will be “least in the Kingdom” as they mitigate their reward.
Matt: 5:17-19 “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 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.”
Note: “according as his work shall be” in Rev. 22:12. We are not saved by our “works” but by the grace of God alone. It is the blessings and rewards we receive apart from our salvation according to our “works” that are derived from obedience to the law.
1 Corinthians 3:13-15 “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”
Is it not quite clear that obedience leads to blessings and rewards? So if a man teaches that God has abolished His Sabbath or actually believes that God would abolish an eternal sign of His covenant, regardless of who you are or what else you have done, you will still be saved but you will be “least in the Kingdom” of heaven for all eternity according to Scripture.
It is my hope that this post will explain the truth as I have come to know it and allow my Christian brothers and sisters insight into the foundation of my beliefs. May it be a blessing to all that read.