So many, including yours truly at one time, struggle with this….law…faith and grace.
I recently took a class “Hayesod”, a Hebrew word meaning “The Foundation”; understanding Hebraic roots and Gentile roots as sons and daughters of the Highest God. There is controversy about this type of study. It seems this controversy is nothing new; for there was a controversy between Paul and other disciples about Jewish and Gentile believers.
There is controversy because, in Biblical times, they strongly discussed the legalism aspects of the law; being circumcised and uncircumcised among a list of others and it seems the controversy is the same today. Believers who know they are under grace through faith in Jesus Christ feel studies like these will take you back into legalism, a list of dos and don’ts.
On the contrary…
I assume that there may be some that will follow that path. While living in Florida, my husband and I use to visit a church that walked in Hebraic customs but not Hebraic laws written by a man. There were many then that were upset with this church because they wanted to teach on Jewish law and did not understand the gift of grace through faith. Those that are looking for that are in danger of being under the curse of the law, having to keep every law according to the WORD. This we leave between them and God.
But there are those like my husband and me who have a hunger to know Jesus even more; wanting to know His Jewish background and wanting to know the WORD through Jewish believers’ eyes and knowledge. The study we recently participated in taught on the need for the WHOLE Bible for God’s teachings and instructions. The study taught on how through God’s mercy He includes the Gentiles with the Jews together, His chosen. His WORD tells us that He told Abram (just before God changed his name to Abraham) in Genesis 17:4 “you will be the father of a multitude of nations (many nations).” The study taught of how we as gentile believers of Jesus Christ are grafted into God’s Kingdom with His chosen people the Jewish children of God. It is not just His chosen Jewish children who have an inheritance in His Kingdom but gentile believers as well. Jesus was Jewish and Scripture tells of how He celebrated His Jewish heritage. Though it has nothing to do with our salvation; it is a privilege to participate as God directs in Jewish customs and feasts. Jesus did not do away with the customs and feasts of the Jews, but rather, they are fulfilled in Him. In Leviticus, the Jewish children are told to keep the feast forever throughout all generations. If my memory serves me well, I believe when God gave the instructions for these celebrations, He told them to include their entire household which often included any servants with them who were not Jewish children of God. Are we not in the household now; grafted into the family? Ephesians 2:12, 13, 15; we do not lose who we are but gain in the privilege of being called sons and daughters of our Sovereign God. Romans 11; 13, 14, 17; as Gentiles believers, we become partakers with Jewish believers with rights and responsibilities to release the message of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, that He has come and is coming again. As Gentiles, we are doing good to participate in the feasts, to do random acts of kindness, to preach the good news….
In my opinion, we should, we must understand the culture and the celebrations that God established with the Jews; hence studies like Hayesod, The Foundation, a history lesson you might say as to the how’s, what’s, why’s and when’s of what is to come and that we should be practicing today in order to be prepared for the coming time.
So back to the law, Faith, and Grace…. Galatians 3
We are to live by faith and our hope and belief in Christ Jesus. But our faith does not nullify the commandments or laws. Do we say that because we have faith we no longer have to live by the 10 Commandments? Is it not written in Exodus 20:2–17 and Deuteronomy 5:6–21 and you may say but that was before the cross…..then what about these Scripture verses?
- First Commandment: You shall have no other gods before Me
Matthew 4:10; 6:24; 22:37-38; Luke 4:8; Revelation 14:7.
- Second Commandment: Thou shalt not worship Idols
Acts 15:20; 17:16; 29; 1 Corinthians 5:10-11; 6:9; 10:7, 14, 19; 12:2; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Galatians 5:20; Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; 1 Peter 4:3; 1 John 5:21; Revelation 2:14; 9:20; 21:8; 22:15.
- Third Commandment: Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain
Matthew 5:33-34; 1 Timothy 6:1; James 2:7.
- Fourth Commandment: Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it Holy
Matthew 12:8, 12; 24:20; Mark 1:21; 2:27-28; 6:2; Luke 4:16, 31; 6:5; 23:56; Acts 13:14, 42, 44; 15:21; 16:13; 17:1-2; 18:4; Hebrews 4:4, 9-10 (See also Amplified, ASV, BBE, NASB, NIV, RSV and NRSV.)
- Fifth Commandment: Honour your father and your mother
Matthew 15:4; 19:19; Mark 7:10; 10:19; Luke 18:20; Romans 1:30; Ephesians 6:1-2; Colossians 3:20; 2 Timothy 3:2.
- Sixth Commandment: Thou shalt not Murder
Matthew 5:21-22; 19:18; Mark 7:21; 10:19; Luke 18:20; Romans 1:29; 13:9; Galatians 5:21; 1 Timothy 1:9; James 2:11; 1 Peter 4:15; 1 John 3:15; Revelation 9:21; 21:8; 22:15.
- Seventh Commandment: Thou shalt not commit Adultery
Matthew 5:27-28; 19:18; Mark 7:21; 10:11-12, 19; Luke 16:18; 18:20; Acts 21:25; Romans 1:29; 2:22; 7:3; 13:9; 1 Corinthians 5:11; 6:9, 18; 10:8; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Hebrews 13:4; James 2:11; 2 Peter 2:14; Jude 1:7; Revelation 2:14; 2:21-22; 9:21.
- Eighth Commandment: Thou shalt not Steal
Matthew 19:18; Mark 7:22; 10:19; Luke 18:20; Romans 2:21; 13:9; 1 Corinthians 5:10-11; 6:10; Ephesians 4:28; 1 Peter 4:15; Revelation 9:21.
- Ninth Commandment: Thou shalt not bear false witness
Matthew 15:19; 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; John 8:44; Acts 5:3-4; Romans 1:29; 13:9; Ephesians 4:25; Colossians 3:9; 1 Timothy 4:2; 2 Timothy 3:3; Revelation 21:8; 22:15.
- Tenth Commandment: Thou shalt not Covet your neighbour’s things
Mark 7:22; Luke 12:15; Acts 20:33; Romans 1:29; 7:7; 13:9; 1 Corinthians 5:10-11; 6:10; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3, 5; 1 Timothy 6:10; 2 Timothy 3:2; 2 Peter 2:14; Hebrews 13:5.
And let us not forget the beatitudes in Matthew 5 as well as chapters 6 & 7 among others which instruct us as to what our lives should reflect.
The word “Law” seems to be a scary word to most. It seems to conjure up fear and rebellion. This should not be. It should bring comfort and peace for the law of God is from His love for our protection.
I am not saying you must go back and memorize all the laws of the Bible. There are many that no longer even pertain to today. However, Jesus says He did not come to nullify or do away with the law He came to fulfill it. Jesus speaking in Matthew 5: 16-18 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”
It is by faith we are saved through the grace of God by the blood of Jesus. We are not saved by keeping the law for under law alone we would bear the curse that says we must keep each and every one of them to be considered righteous. It is by faith in Jesus Christ who became the curse for us (Galatians 3:13 “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us–for it is written, ” CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”) so that we no longer are under the curse but under grace. Jesus took every sin upon Himself and the curse when He hung on the tree. When He died for you and me the curse for those who believe in Him died too. It is the curse He removed not the law. We are not justified by the law as believers; Galatians 3:15 says “the righteous shall live by faith.”
So what about the “law”?
If you were to study the ones we should live by you would see that you probably live by most of them if not all now in your everyday life. Love the LORD God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. Do not gossip, do not slander, do not bear false witness, Do not steal, do not lie, do not be a glutton, do not cause your brother to stumble (and whose your brother?…that’s another whole lesson!) The list goes on for a while but it is all about honesty, integrity, respect, honor, and LOVE. Our love for the LORD and our love for mankind is what lead us to fulfill His commandments, His law.
Jeremiah 31:33 states a covenant with the house of Israel which we are grafted into: The LORD says: “I will put my law within them and on their hearts, I will write it and I will be their God and they shall be my people. Are we not one of God’s people?
No one seems to be able to keep all the commandments/law that is why those who live by the law alone face a curse but through the grace of God, He sent Jesus to us, for us who believe in Him so that we do not live under the curse any longer, but by faith, we live under grace so not to receive the due judgment for our disobedience to God. Most of us still disobey God, sin, even after our receiving Christ as our Lord and Savior. We may face consequences but we no longer have to face the judgment of God for that sin.
So…. God sent Jesus who sent Holy Spirit who guides us in all truths.
John 14:16-17 “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.”
John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”
John 15:26 “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me.”
John 16:13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”
We innately know His commandments/law because He has placed it within us and Holy Spirit guides us to live by it. It is by choice as always whether or not we walk in His Spirit; it is by choice whether or not we choose to obey or not. But His WORD in Galatians 5:16 says if we walk in the Spirit we will not gratify the desires of the flesh. If we walk by the Spirit the law has no conviction to make against us hence we are not under the law. When we walk by the direction of the Holy Spirit, we walk in love, in joy, in peace, in patience, in kindness, in goodness, in faithfulness, in gentleness, and in self-control; against such things, there is no law.
When we walk in His Spirit and obey Him, we follow the commandments, the law that is written by God and written in our hearts.
So please, please do not let fear or rebellion set in against learning Hebraic culture and customs if God is so leading you to. And please do not fault or judge those that God has placed it on their hearts to seek this. As Gentiles, we are not required to become Jewish but as Gentiles just as with Jews, we should want to know each other well. It is in a relationship we begin to know one another and walk as one just as God has ordained it to be. And isn’t that one of the major desires of God that we walk in relationship with Him and with our brothers and sisters? Ephesians 2 specifically 2:14, but do not take it that the word “nullify” means total destruction of the law; rather it means to cause to lose its power or effectiveness; since our flesh as believers are crucified with Christ, we seek to live with the Spirit, therefore, denying the desires of the flesh which had previously caused us to break the laws.
We as one new man should live in unity with our brothers and sisters, enjoying this abundant life God has prepared for us.
And as far as the feasts….they are wonderful celebrations of remembrance of what the LORD has done for us all, not just our Jewish brothers and sisters. His plan was for all to come to salvation and a life of abundance here on earth to share with each other.
Also remember, there are those in the Jewish community that does not accept Christ as the Messiah. What a testimony we have to share as they might see us celebrating their feasts with them. We can share with them this wonderful life with Christ-filled with peace, joy, faith, hope, and love. We can share how because of them we have this privilege and that they no longer have to live under bondage to keep the law, the curse is broken for those who believe. What would it say to them to see Gentile believers loving them and caring about their lives?
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