Christians: Keeping the Law of Moses?

Christians: Keeping the Law of Moses?


It was only a few weeks ago, while in a discussion this was given as support for Christians  following the Sabbath,  namely Seventh day Adventists and Messianic Jews, hold to this, but some of the people close to me, I have observed are of the same opinion.

Mark 2:27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.

And I was offered the explanation as to why The law given to Israel, not Christians, should be held by Christians because:

1. It was God’s eternal Law.

2. It is good to follow.

3. Christ never abolished the law.

4. The law is a higher standard for worshiping and keeping ourselves holy.

I am sure there are various other reasons people can conjure up as well. I f course flat-out disagree with them.

Before we go forward let me say a few words.

I have no problem with Jews keeping Torah culturally or religiously.
I have no issue with messianic Jews who believe in Christ and also follow the Torah out of their love and not because it is required for salvation or otherwise.
I also have no objection to Christians or messianic Jews if they think that the Torah or parts of it are still in effect (I think otherwise but I am sure that following Torah gives them no harm) but not for salvation and therefore is not required unless someone wishes to take it upon itself out of respect, fear or simple tradition.

When I really get uncomfortable is when the Torah is introduced as a must for all people, regardless of salvation and for those who are not following it, it is counted as disobeying God’s “eternal commands”. and therefore the implication is that people who do not think and obey the Torah are somehow displeasing God or disobeying him. This I must state is against the gospel, and close to heresy. I know there is a fine line here, and some of you do not think that the Torah was ever meant to be abolished that is something we will look further down the post, but right now what I am talking about is when anyone implicates Torah as a must, as in “required” to “please” God after coming to Christ (after salvation), he is going against the gospel’s message, period.

The law is done away with. Anyone who wants to follow the law can out of love of God, but realize that it adds nothing to your position in front of God. That you are not required to follow it and by not following it you are NOT displeasing God.

People claim that sabbath was intended for all men, one fellow forum poster posted this on Mark 2:27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath, he wrote

“…This is Christ speaking. Christ does not lie. He plainly states that the sabbath was made for ‘man’. The logic here is that if it was a Jewish only command then he would have been required by the spirit of truth to say “The sabbath was made for Jews, and not Jews for the sabbath”. “

This is perceptual reading. True, God made Sabbath before Moses was born yet he did not enforce it till later. And even then he only gave the commandment to Israel. And as the epistle of Hebrews clarify that it is not the day of the week which really matters but what it hints at, that Christ is our ultimate rest. So remember the law was and the 7th day of Sabbath included, was a shadow of good things to come and not the real substance itself. Therefore when we have the substance itself which is Christ why should we go for the shadow again?

I was given more references, mainly:

Exo 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Exo 20:9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
Exo 20:10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God:

the general reasoning is

He very clearly states to ‘remember the sabbath day’ which means it is not a new thing and of course he also points out that the seventh day is the Sabbath of the lord thy God and not just the Sabbath of the Jews.

I suggest we see ourselves in Christ, its not about pleasing God as its about knowing our place in God through what Christ did. That is what grace is, its not about you and what you did but about Christ and what he did.

I can understand the problem the text seems to pose but the best thing to do is to read the text in its context and not generally. There are things in the scriptures which have universal appeal and there are thing which do not have universal appeal. You have to see the Bible through Christ and not the other way around. And through this you can see that these things are trivial, what matters is that we live in a spirit filled life, whether we live by a moral code which is Jewish or not, is a secondary issue. If we are in Christ and we trust him and still choose to go through the law or parts of it then it is on our own behalf, it does not add an iota of difference to our merit or makes God more or less pleased. Many Christians, myself included do not follow the law because in Christ, the law does not matter, what matters is that we walk a spirit filled life.

Paul clearly shows that the law does not show what we can do in God but rather the opposite, it shows us our weakness and therefore our inability. And it never grants anyone righteousness to anyone. So when all is set and done the law points to Christ, but not with the spirit but with words. In fact one great thing to consider is when Jesus promised his disciples the holy spirit he called him to be the helper and not the Torah which they had. The whole point was to let the spirit guide you and not the law. But the spirit would not guide you to follow the law because the law has been the taskmaster and our teacher till Christ came and when we have Christ we are no longer under the law. Therefore for the spirit to lead us back to the law, is to go into the wrong direction. Its like going to school after you went through the university.

There was a very good reason that Christ called the legalistic following of the law as a yoke. Please note, there are people who follow the law out of their love of God while being believers; and there are believers who follow the law because they see a merit of goodness in pleasing God in it and yes here is the difference, this latter is the problem because it shifts and ties God’s grace from Christ’s atonement to our good performance, which is simply wrong.

A misconception is that people, like me, do not follow the law because we think it is bad, or not good enough. No this is a gross misrepresentation. First Paul clarifies that the law is not bad. I agree but he also clarifies about what the law can and can not do and that is it doesn’t save and going to follow it will not help you anyway.

Many people follow the law because they say it is good, since God gave it, so it must be good, there would be something right in it.

I do not have to follow the law because it is good. In fact that is the best thing about Christ’s work. It is not about the law being good or bad, it is about relevance, it was the old law carved in stone, we are called in to the new one as the old one was done away with. In essence, the law points to Christ but Christ’s work does not depend on the law. The sacrifices and the rituals in the law were a hint of Christ’s work, foreseen and established by God, and not the other way around. The law points to Christ but Christ does not point to the law. Christ was not placed to come to fulfill the law, in fact the law was placed so that it can imitate loosely of what Christ was to come and do.

The Sabbath was not made because God wanted man to keep one day holy, that was the way to observe Sabbath but it was not the reason for there being a Sabbath in the first place. It was placed to signify what was God’s plan of redemption and our eternal rest which is Christ. Jesus himself proclaimed his authority.

Mark 2:27-28, Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

And Jesus clearly broke the Sabbath when he and his disciples went through the fields and they started to eat. It was explicitly punishable by death according to the law. Some people claim that he did not break the Sabbath but more so the way it was kept by the jews, but to be honest to the passage he broke the Sabbath full force and head on, to explain to them that he was the master of it.

The tricky thing is, people who want to follow the law (I mean people who really want merit on following the law) after coming to Christ are in a tricky situation. The scriptures say that those who walk in the law shall be judged by the law, meaning people who do not depend on grace but on their acts with regards to the law to please and obey god, even if that is done with a good heart, can be of devastating effect since the scriptures clearly tell us that breaking a single commandment is like breaking the entire law. I wonder, if standing before God would they want to be judged by the law (since if you try to follow the law, you can not do it casually) or by grace, and if by grace then the law and its measures do not matter at all (hence no reason for me to follow them as Christ’s work made them irrelevant), and if not by grace then we are all guilty because no one is perfect. The problem here is to the people who want to follow the law because they think they have to as it is commandments of God and the disobedience of not observing the law will be displeasing to God, either the law applies as a whole or it doesn’t. Else we are in an endless debate of what we should and should not follow. But please note, my wish to follow the law and the inability to not fully follow it has no bearing on the truth that in following the law I am already subjected to its fullness. Therefore I can choose what to follow or what not but it doesn’t dictate how the law treats me, which is what leads to condemnation.

This is the reason why going back to the law as a “commandment of God” makes no sense since God himself gave a new commandment. Because the purpose of the law is to point out sin and condemn it and through this all fall short. The law does not bring righteousness, since it is not under its authority. Because being righteous means to be without sin and the law was given for the very opposite reason, it was given to sinners, who sinned. The law is not for those who are without sin for they would not need the law in the first place.

Going to the law for guidance is strange to me, because it was the start of the path that lead us to Christ and the holy spirit, which guides us. Why would it lead back to the start is, beyond me.

Like I said earlier, anyone following the Torah to obey God more is in trouble but anyone following Torah, culturally or just because they want to and like to can be a Christian and be under grace. It is a heavier yoke but fortunately enough it doesn’t affect the work of the cross and so believers can choose to do so and rejoice in God. But people who want to keep the law because they are afraid of displeasing God or they think that the law has some sort of higher ground, are wrong. That is adding to yourself the yoke which Christ has already lifted. And that, dear reader, is wrong.

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7 thoughts on “Christians: Keeping the Law of Moses?

  1. I like it when you say

    “I think otherwise but I am sure that following Torah gives them no harm”

    I honestly believe, There is no harm in Not being under the Law

    the thing really when we subject ourselves to the Law, we are bound to keep
    them all.

    what is scary with the Law is that when you break it, there are curses as a result.

    if Joseph can stand against the seduction of Potiphar’s wife, with the Law
    then very well and much we can overcome too. for we are under a better covenant.

    I totally agree we are under Law, the Law of Christ. just as Paul is.

    but there are bible principles that simply must be followed.
    Lets take the Law, thou shall rest on the 7th day.

    it applies very well to almost every creature in this world.
    even Lands need to rest on the 7th year.
    else crops won’t bear fruit or the fruit it bears are defective.

    or God’s command Do not interbred species, or plant 2 seeds in same field
    they all have implication naturally, or spiritually.

    another one is do not eat blood. medical science discovers that sickness can be found in the blood.

    there is a thin line between the Law and our effort to merit God’s goodness.

    on another though, Jesus walking on water totally defies all Laws.

    today our 7th day, is the God’s place of rest.

    @”Going to the law for guidance is strange to me”
    ……………………………………

    it is the same though I have.

    whenever I try to subject my self to Law so ‘to point me to Christ’
    I do end up feeling despair, abandoned and condemned.
    the same things that happened 1 week ago, happens again.

    the Law design for that reason, we who are in Christ must trust
    His Grace or us.

    indeed, Grace defies logic. ‘how can I receive this, when I do not deserved it?’

    so now, I refuse to be in despair, condemn by the Law.

    @The tricky thing is, people who want to follow the law (I mean people who really want merit on following the law) after coming to Christ are in a tricky situation
    ……………………………………

    good point.

    I have been trying to finish a writing about the same thing. it goes like this.

    ” Let us leave the Law to its pristine.
    To attempt to obey the Law and run to Grace to escape
    the punishment of the Law is perverting and De-Law-ing the Law.
    We are taking out the justice of the Law by doing that.

    in the same manner, when we are in Grace and we receive the things
    we do not deserve and then we run the Law and say ‘look i have obeyed
    therefore i have deserved this’ is perverting Grace.

    We cannot serve Two masters. we cannot server Law and Grace.
    we will hate the other and love the other one.

    okay i’ll end comment here. long one sorry 🙂

    good post.

    – grace and peace

      1. Hi John. Because you start from myth and try to relate that to reality. It’s the equivalent of me mentioning I’d seen The Wizard of Oz and then claiming we need to debate how US foreign policy needs to take account of the Tin Man’s attitudes and approaches.

      2. Are you referring to the whole Bible, as myth or parts of it? or you are referring to the general idea about there being a God, as myth?

        Because if its the former then you will find it quite difficult to object because there is a lot of empirical evidence and wealth of scholarship regarding the archaeology of biblical era and the amount of evidence that corroborates with the Bible at various points.

        Even outside of the Bible you can find such example. For instance, study the “shroud of Turin” and the extensive research done on it, and by study I do not mean a few internet pages, I mean real scholarship done on the subject, those who believe its authentic and also of those who do not and then let me know what you think. Might take you a few days, perhaps more than that.

        If its the latter then we’d have to analyze why are we on two different sides. I mean if there is no evidence of God at all, then the best we can say is that we do not know if one exists or not. How we reach our conclusions basically has to do a lot with how we perceive things. Even if I grant you that all of this is just myth, you will find that the philosophical implications of there being no God, again do not make much sense. As we say “absence of proof is not proof of absence.”

        There have a been a lot of people in history – their names never being jotted down in any book, does that mean they never existed, its not a very good argument, you see. And speaking in the position of a former atheist, this is the last type of reasoning I would bring to object the existence of God. However that is what I think.

        Anyway, to me the universe makes sense if there is a God, without it, it simply doesn’t.

  2. I have read your article carefully, and with great interest.

    You are correct in seeing that keeping [obedience to] the Law is not considered a ‘must’ or ‘requirement’ for anyone who has been Born-Again, having had Messiah ‘birthed’ within them.

    We do see in Scripture, however, that Father has a hidden purpose for our obedience to be ‘optional.’ Because the apostle Paul knew the Law intimately, it appears he had discovered (by revelation from the Holy Spirit) this supreme purpose.

    With this understanding, I would like to offer only one comment on your article.

    You said, “…but right now what I am talking about is when anyone implicates Torah as a must, as in “required” to “please” God after coming to Christ (after salvation), he is going against the gospel’s message, period.”

    Although Torah is no longer a ‘must,’ it would be helpful for us to know what Scripture reveals about what ‘does’ please God, and what ‘does not’ please Him. Only in this way may we make a ‘wise’ choice (as in what the ‘wise’ virgins decided to choose).

    Let’s look at what the apostle Paul tells us:

    In Romans 8:5-8, keeping in mind that Paul is writing to Believers, we see that Paul tells us that those who walk ‘in the flesh’ can NOT please God, because they are ‘carnal.’ Then Paul tells us the ‘carnal’ Believers are those who are not ‘subject to’ the law [not ‘submitted themselves in obedience to’ the Law](Romans 8:7-8).

    The writer to the Hebrews gives us a similar bit of information, about something that does ‘not’ please God:

    “But without faith it is impossible to please him…” (Hebrews 11:6a).

    Taken together, (Romans 8:7-8) and (Hebrews 11:6a) tell us that ‘not subject to the Law’ is equal to ‘without Faith’ — as these both do ‘not’ please Him. I will leave it to you, and to your Readers, to determine what this would imply, as to what ‘does’ please Him.

    And it is still our choice. We must each endeavour to choose ‘wisely.’

    -Blessings,

    Brother Bill

    1. Thank you Bill for your honest response and clarifying your position. If you believe that the law is not required for salvation then we agree. If you want to follow it, please do so with all your heart, that is something which is between God and you.

      Although systematic theological methods are used extensively, I have personally stopped doing it. I do not join verses to and proof-text my conclusion out of it. I can also join a string of verses and show you how Paul says the law is done with but you would also stress that you came to the right conclusion too which is the opposite of mine.

      Where does that leave us? nowhere. I have learnt that we should not use the scriptures to justify our position but rather let the scripture define the position and lets take it. So again if you want to follow Torah, more power to you. I am happy in the grace that I walk and of course that is the same grace which enables you to follow Torah and not be punished with its curses when you break it. So peace to you brother. I have no doubt that you love the lord, I pray that you be strong as ever.

      God bless you.

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