Heaven-and-Earth Huge! or, Matthew 5:17-19

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Nearly every 119/Hebrew Roots follower has quickly pointed out the Matthew 5:17-19 passage as the proof-positive that the Old Testament Law is absolutely still in effect today for believers.

Let’s test it.

Matt. 5:17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 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. 19 Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

First we have a strange problem. Jesus here uses two conditions:
1. Until heaven & earth pass away
2. Until all is accomplished

It’s perplexing because He doesn’t link them with an “and”. He actually keeps them separate, regardless of which translation. So to just assume they are linked isn’t accurate.

Here’s a random example of what the double condition is like: “Until it stops raining, I cannot walk home until I get new shoes.”

This sentence does not say: “Until it stops raining & I get new shoes, I cannot walk home.”

As it is written, it’s perplexing.

Thankfully, this is not the only passage we have to figure out its meaning. God also had Luke record this.

Luke 16:17 says, “But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail.”

So now we see how this is meant to be taken. Not literally. If it were literal, then the Matthew passage and the Luke passage would be in conflict.

Going back to my random example. It could have been also written elsewhere, “It would be easier for it to stop raining than for me to walk home.”

So if I had both statements, I could get a very clear meaning of what the single spoken phrase means.

Likewise, if we take both the Matthew & Luke references we can understand that the heaven & earth passing away is meant in terms of its difficulty, magnitude, and importance. I’ll come back to this point because it’s absolutely BEAUTIFUL and FAR-REACHING.

Taking a look again at Matthew 5:17-19 in its context is where this whole story is really the story of humanity.

Here we have just had Jesus call the multitudes, lots of people, and deliver the beatitudes. Then He expresses that the Law is very much intact and He didn’t come to abolish it but to fulfill it and how important it is to keep every last command and teach it correctly.

So He’s just called attention to the critical importance of keeping the Law. Up to now the people would most likely be in agreement with Him, feeling called to step up their keeping of the Law and do a more diligent job. They were probably also examining their actions to consider whether they might be greatest or least in the kingdom. 

RIGHT AFTER THAT, He makes the claim that “unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” I’d argue that at this point, many of the people listening have just been struck with fear. The Pharisees were their teachers and example. They knew the Law better than anyone. They at least pretended to follow it. If anyone were to be found righteous according to the Law it would be a Pharisee. But Jesus has just thrown out to them that their righteousness has to SURPASS that of the Pharisees, and on the line here is entrance into the kingdom of heaven, not greatest or least in it; but getting in at all!

 Who in that crowd would have any confidence of achieving this? They were working people, rich, poor, literate, illiterate, schooled in the Law, cursory understanding of the Law, Pharisees, and common Jews…it was a multitude. Nobody could hope to exceed the Pharisees’ righteousness.

And Jesus knew this. He now had not only their attention, but also their fears of just how NOT righteous they were. But then Jesus does something else…He draws out certain familiar laws and tells the people, “You have heard it said…but *I* say…”

And when He does this, He sharpens the points of these Laws so that they are driven like nails into the people’s hearts. These Laws have now been placed at a heart-level, no longer external, no longer measurable. You can measure murder; but who can measure anger at the point it becomes equal before God to murder? You can measure adultery; but who can measure a look containing lust at the point it becomes equal before God to adultery?

So now, the people are facing an insurmountable obstacle: the Law which nobody can keep and which Jesus has just driven home, that unless it is kept better than the Pharisees, there will be NO entering the kingdom of heaven.

And Jesus also knew this.

He concludes Matthew 5 by telling these people, who are very likely scared out of their wits thinking they are doomed, “Be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect.”

Oh dear. And now their fate is sealed. Because there is none righteous, no not one. And I dare say these people knew just how unrighteous they were and how unattainable the kingdom of heaven really is.

Now, WHY would Jesus do this to His beloved Israel?

Because ALL throughout history mankind has needed a Savior. And here before this multitude, though they didn’t know it, was that very Savior. They were brought low by the highness of the unkeepable Law and pushed to the point where they knew they personally needed the coming Messiah. Oh if He would only come and save them.

And if they only knew how little time remained before He would!

Now back to the beautiful and far-reaching point of Jesus expressing that it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for the Law to fall away UNTIL ALL IS ACCOMPLISHED… The difficulty, the magnitude, the importance of heaven and earth passing away. Think about heaven & earth passing away. An event of all time that is COLOSSAL. Well, on the cross, Jesus accomplished it all: “It is finished.” Finished. Accomplished. Fulfilled. This single event is so HUGE that the only thing easier is for heaven and earth to pass away. Do you see it? The hugeness?

It’s such a miniscule thing to assume Matthew 5:17-19 is Jesus declaring the Law is to be followed for all time. It’s not about the Law at all. It’s about something greater than the Law. It’s about Messiah! He’s here, Immanuel, God-with-us is finally here!

You see, He insisted the Law was still in full force while He lived on this earth, because He had not yet died and He was following it in order to perfectly fulfill it so that when He died He would be a sacrifice without blemish so that He could perfectly fulfill the sentence for those who did not keep it, namely every human being.

As He gave up His life, He announced the Law’s abolishment by saying, “It is finished.” He had pre-announced it when He declared the New Covenant by breaking bread, as His body, and sharing wine, as His blood. And He pre-announced it in John 3:16.

And His resurrection brought about the open door for Jews & Gentiles to enter the family of God as His sons and brothers of Jesus.

So here is the summation, the culmination of it all: In His life, Jesus fulfilled the Law; in His death, He abolished the Law; and in His resurrection, He ushered into effect the New Covenant where the Jew-Gentile church is His body with Him as the head.

I’ve just summarized Ephesians 2:13-22
“13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; 18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.”

Do you see the Law is abolished in His DEATH, not while He lived. Do you see that He brought two groups, Jews & Gentiles, into one NEW man in Himself? Do you see that the foundation is the apostles & prophets, with Jesus as cornerstone…not the LAW and the prophets. In fact, no mention of Law at all other than it’s abolishment.

So the over-arching point (not the only point) of Jesus’ discussion of Law in Matthew 5 is to pierce our hearts with the great need we have for a Messiah. And the point of calling out heaven & earth passing away is to demonstrate just how huge and universe-altering Jesus’ completing it ALL really is.

Do you see it? It just brings me to my knees.

____________________________________________

Other Scriptures on which I based the article:

-The Law brings us to see we need a Savior:

” 24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.” -Galatians 3:24-25

“4 For Christ is the end [goal] of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” -Romans 10:4

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34 responses »

  1. While you have some good points about the law now being abolished, I would like to point out, are you sure you want to abolish the law (God’s instructions) on how to treat people with respect, honor our parents, being responsible for your actions as well as, how to love the Lord your God. See Exodus ch 19 to ch 24. In fact. This IS the law. This was given at Mt Sinai. These other commands later had to be given to mankind because we were disobedient. Party at 3 feast!! I’m in!! What better opportunity to teach your children about God. (My children love it). I’ve changed my way of thinking before 119 came on the scene. They have just confirmed I am headed down a good path. I love it. . I love it all.

  2. I stumbled on this blog while looking for objections to 119 ministries. Before I dive into something I like to see what detractors are saying, as sort of a way to help me “test the spirits” so to speak.

    I’m leaning toward the hebrew roots/messianic jewish perspective. Have been really for 30 years but am just now taking concrete steps to delve deeper into it, studying and fellowshipping with some local hebrew roots folks.

    The passage you describe has had a big impact on my understanding. I am seeking authenticity, and try my best to remain open to truth, whatever form it takes. Stepping away from what I’ve known in the church isn’t an easy thing to do, but there is *obvious* pagan influence in aspects of the church that I just can’t seem to reconcile, so my pursuit of the truth and authentic faith is leading me in this direction.

    All that said, I see some contradiction in what you’ve written, and am curious how you would resolve them:

    1. Jesus was a torah observant Jew. His ministry lasted around 3 years. I don’t know at what point in those three years these words were spoken by Him, but doesn’t it seem a bit odd for Jesus to be stressing the importance of the law and prophets to his followers, and the loss of position/respect ignoring and teaching others to ignore them would incur, when it was about to be done away with in 3 years or less? Wouldn’t he instead be busying himself with preparing his followers for the fulfillment and obsolescence of the law and prophets, and wouldn’t his teaching have clearly reflected this?

    2. “until all is accomplished” — what does it mean? We can say with certainty that “not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law” until all is accomplished. The Law and the Prophets includes future prophecy, so doesn’t “until all is accomplished” reference some future date? It seem to me that “all” is not yet accomplished.

    3. Speaking of future prophecy, we know that when Jesus reigns from Jerusalem in the future, the nations will be celebrating the feasts per Zachariah 14:16-17. If the feasts are not for today, because the law has been done away with, why will they be celebrated in the future? Why the temporary intermission?

    • Thanks, Troy, for your response & excellent questions. I can’t give you “for sure” answers, but I will tell you how I look at your three questions.
      1. Jesus couldn’t be preparing his followers not to follow the Law because He hadn’t died yet. He could however create in them a hunger & thirst for salvation which was just coming. He did that by emphasizing their need to perform the Law flawlessly, better than the Pharisees, even perfectly. Secondly, He would be distributing the Holy Spirit to every believer. So there was no need to prepare them for anything beyond provoking their need for a Savior. The Holy Spirit would lead them into all truth.
      2. I don’t know either what “all is accomplished” refers to. But I do know Jesus said, “It is finished” on the cross. And I also know that He explained further on in Matthew this:
      13 “For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John.”
      -Matthew 11:13
      Then in Galatians 3, it talks about a particular time of being under the Law until faith came through Jesus. At that time we’re no longer under the tutor of the law.
      23 “But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”
      -Galatians 3:23-26
      Ephesians 2 talks about Jesus,in His flesh, putting to death the emnity, which is the Law. He completed it, fulfilled it when He lived. But ended it when He died.
      14 “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.”
      -Ephesians 2:14-16
      Jesus is instituting a NEW covenant with his body (flesh) and blood.
      20 “And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.”
      -Luke 22:20
      Interestingly enough, just prior to this, Jesus tells his disciples He won’t share this special meal with them again until “it is fulfilled.”
      16 “for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
      -Luke 22:16
      There are just lots of places that indicate a huge change in the before versus after Jesus’ death, burial, & resurrection. Whatever “it” was, he finished it on the cross.
      3. The feasts in the future kingdom are something I haven’t spent a lot of time on. I wonder about it. However, I don’t think it falls out of line with other Scripture. If it does, God has some discrepancies to account for in His book. But if you take Scripture as a whole, I have looked backwards & forwards for it to make sense as Law-Keepers explain it & it just doesn’t. There are so many problems with the beliefs. So how to I reconcile the fact that they’re there in Zach.? When I look at the whole Bible, and especially the Old Testament and when I look at strong, well-studied Pharisees & Rabbis, I see a huge commonality: they didn’t see that many of the OT prophecies were about Jesus being the Messiah. They knew the Scriptures backward & forward, but when it came to prophesies, they were so far off they ended up persecuting the very Savior they longed for. Additionally, even those who recognized Him as Messiah misread the prophecies. They thought He would be a political hero to save them from Rome. So although they had the prophecies staring them
      In the face, they weren’t given the ability to correctly discern their meanings. So how can I assume that because it’s written in Zach. as it is, that I can correctly discern what it means for the future. Additionally, I look at future prophesy like a post card from a place (and time) I’ve never been. If I visited the remotest jungle & found strange people with odd customs and saw odd structures and unusual animals and never-imagined physical land features, and I wrote a brief postcard home to tell my family & friends what it was like, then asked each person to draw what I described, it’s highly likely that each would be fairly different. All had the same text from me, all have a relationship with me, but none has yet seen this place with their own eyes. Further, there may be portions of the strange customs that I chose to describe in familiar terms so my family and friends can get *some* idea of what I am seeing. Similarly, we have a prophecy about a place & time we’ve not yet been to. And who’s to say God didn’t couch the description of it all in terms that Zach. and the Israelites of that day could relate to? And for a Scriptural illustration of this, consider Epesians 2 again:
      19 “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.”
      -Ephesians 2:19-22
      Here it describes a brand new Temple where God will dwell. And guess what it’s built of? Not what Solomon’s temple was built of! In fact, it’s not a literal structure at all. It’s made of people. Crazy different!
      So, these are the ways I personally deal with your excellent dilemmas. I’m seeking answers too. And certainly at this point the Lord keeps guiding me down the path of grace, not Law. Because Law diminishes so much of the hugeness of what Jesus actually accomplished.

  3. Jesus did say “it is finished” on the cross, not “all” but “it”. Prophecy related to Him and his eventual return and rule are yet to be fulfilled, so *all* is obviously not yet accomplished, or at least that’s how I see it. So even beyond the difficulty converting the passing away of heaven and earth into an idomatic expression, this seems clear that nothing will be taken from the law until all is accomplished.

    Please don’t make the mistake of believe that folks in the HRM believe that observance of the law brings salvation, for even His people before Messiah’s crucifiction and resurrection were saved by faith through the grace of the creator. Rather, having received said grace, we obey Him because we love him, and as John 2:6 says “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”

    Now, honestly as I said before, I am just beginning my “journey” into the study of these things. I have felt for 30 years now that the church was missing something important, and those suspicions centered mostly around pagan practices the church has absorbed, but now that I’m really studying these things I’m realizing that according to the HRM it’s really so much more than just that.

    Admittedly, I am on just the start of this journey, and I”m open to turning back if need be. I probably shouldn’t even be posting comments like this because I am so “green”, so to speak.

    Galatians and some other writings of Paul are tough, admittedly. I’m in the process of digging into those right now in fact. But here are some guiding principles that sort of stick out to me–that make me think there is something I (and perhaps the church) have missed. These are sort of ideas or concepts that point me to question the traditional understanding and study them with a fresh perspective:

    1. As already said, I find it very difficult to wrestle Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:17-19 to mean anything other than what they plainly state. If the plain meaning is true, than surely Paul cannot be contradicting them in Galatians and elsewhere. On the other hand, if what the church understands from Paul’s writings is true, than the words of Jesus mean something other than what they seem to say. I am not one, (and there are some), to say that Paul was wrong or a false apostle to be disregarded, so I have to reconcile them somehow. However, Jesus is my Lord and Messiah, so I probably do naturally tend to take His words *very* seriously, so seeing Matthew 5:17-19 as they are written, I tend to want to take it for what it says and then try to figure out what Paul really means.

    2. Paul praises and elevates the law in Romans 3:31 (“Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.”) and several other writings. Paul spoke against the “works of the law” in Galations. Remember he lived in a time when jewish leaders had added so much to the torah it put an onerous burden on God’s people. I’m not sure Paul was writing against the law itself in Galatians, but rather the works of the law–i.e. the idea that following the law, at that time more man made tradition of the rabbies than the actual torah, is what results in salvation. In fact part of the dead sea scrolls mentions these “works of the law” and seem to provide clarification, though I haven’t quite gotten through all of that just yet. But what we can definitely agree on is that the law doesn’t save. It condemns by being the example of perfection that we cannot possibly attain. (And you have to admit, it still serves that purpose, so doesn’t that mean it still stands? Surely you wouldn’t advocate breaking the ten commandments, and yet the church tends to do exactly that repeatedly with the fourth. Look into the literal meaning of “mia ton sabbaton” and see what you think–notice that John Calvin himself had to admit that Paul was probably waiting to travel the next day because it was the sabbath. Sabbath is torah, and Paul observed the Sabbath in many place–most likely *even* Acts 20:7.)

    3. Paul is also author of, in Romans 11, the illustration of gentile wild olive branches being “grafted into” the cultivated olive tree of Israel. He even warns against boasting because the wild olive branches do not support the root, but rather the root supports the wild branches. Clearly we are grafted into Israel and become one with His people. And then because we are so in love with our Messiah, we seek to be like him (and what was He if not a torah observant Jew?). Or at least that is the direction I am being led presently 🙂

    4. Feasts are part of torah. Paul very obviously celebrated the feasts. Zachariah shows that *all* nations will in the future during Messiah’s reign on earth. (Or they go without rain.) Again, we have Paul honoring and observing torah. Why bother if it no longer has any meaning? Beyond that, why bring pagan tradition into the church and make them holidays and ignore the God-ordained holidays? How many Christians would be okay *NOT* celebrating Christmas? To many, if not most, Christians that would be sin itself. Yet the first (note first, not last because they would learn torah in the synagague), requirements made of new believers by the “Jerusalem council” was to abstain from pagan idolatry.

    5. Paul was identified in scripture as the ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes, which was made up of the jewish believers in Messiah. We know from writings of church fathers that the Nazarenes were present until several centuries A.D. and continued to follow torah and live as Jews, with the only difference being belief in Jesus as Messiah. The church fathers didn’t understand or like that at all–in fact some of their writing are decidedly and sometimes viciously anti-semitic.

    Ultimately Paul is either contradicting himself by upholding torah and then tearing it down, or the traditional church understanding isn’t quite right.

    Again, I am completely unworthy to defend these positions, as they are very new to me. But I do appreciate the dialogue. For me, as I venture down this path, it has rekindled a new and deeper love for Messiah, something which floating along in various churches has actually hindered.

    Let’s suppose I’m going down the wrong path, and the church has it right. Does freedom in Christ allow me to follow torah because of my love for Him? Many Christian leaders have labeled the perspective I am studying as heresy or as a cult. Why do that if we have freedom in Christ? If I believe salvation is secured by accepting the blood of Jesus as my atonement for sin, and his redemption purchased me and I now belong to him, and then I show my love for him by following His commandments as I understand them, walking to the best of my ability as He did, why would any Christian berate or belittle that?

    My wife doesn’t share my perspective, and I still attend church for the sake of family unity and harmony, though on the Sabbath I have been fellowshiping (alone unfortunately) with a messianic/hebrew roots gathering. I don’t for a second believe that my brothers and sisters in Christ within the church are so wrong as to be unsaved.

    • Thanks Troy for your study & perspective. The way I see it, if you’re a believer, you have everything you need to argue & defend what God calls you to, because you are indwelt by Him in the form of the Holy Spirit. So thank you for being willing to dialogue.
      This site is here for people like you. Someone on the fence. Not particularly for those sold out to HRM and not particularly to those who are too timid to test their long-held Christian beliefs.
      The articles I’ve written here are from my own journey of “testing everything”. When I do, I end up with so many holes in the explanations from HRM that it doesn’t stand up.
      Please please please love you wife even though you’re looking into other beliefs. If you end up embracing the HRM, remember that love is the greatest command. And even Paul says, “2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. ”
      – 1 Corinthians 13:2
      Please don’t let these beliefs pull your marriage into turmoil. Don’t let your “understand of mysteries & knowledge” end up making you “nothing.”
      A few other considerations: it’s extremely nostalgic to participate in feasts “of old” and hear Hebrew roll of someone’s tongue and imagine what it would have been like to be part of the tribe of Israel way back when. Be sure in looking for greater depth & meaning that you are not just looking for a further-back past.
      And consider which is easier: following a prescribed set of rules & regulations or obeying the Holy Spirit when you hear Him tell you to tip the waitress extra this time even though she poorly did her job or to sell your laptop because it’s taking over your life. One requires little faith and the other requires an enormous amount. “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” (Heb. 11:6)
      Some responses to your thoughts…
      Does freedom in Christ allow you to follow Torah because of your love for Him? I don’t really know for sure. Mostly I think yes. Because of salvation being as you say, only by grace through faith in Jesus. So if you are saved, then God has accepted & justified you & clothed you in the only righteousness you can ever have: Jesus’. However, Paul could not write much stronger words than these: ” O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?…”
      -Galatians 3:1a
      “2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”
      -Galatians 3:2-3
      Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith…”
      -Galatians 3:11-12a
      (Notice here this important phrase…But the law is not of faith…and remember the other words “Without faith, it’s impossible to please God.”)
      But this is by far the harshest language from Paul:
      “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.2 Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you.”
      -Galatians 5:1-2
      Christ will be of no advantage to you? Yikes! If we don’t have Christ, we have no salvation, no righteousness, & no mediator between us & God.
      “3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law.”
      -Galatians 5:3
      If you submit yourself to one aspect of the Law, you’re then *obligated* to keep the whole Law. And this is the awful result of choosing that path:
      “4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.”
      -Galatians 5:4
      This is not being spoken to someone who hasn’t been saved. An unsaved person has near been joined to Christ from whom they could then be severed. And someone who is an unbeliever has never been in grace where they could then fall away.
      That’s scary stuff. If I were weighing severity of Scripture, I’d easily choose the path that gave no remote chance to being severed from Christ! He’s the only hope I have! I will not toy around with that! Instead I will hold fast to the grace Jesus has plainly extended to me.
      One more way to view this difficulty of can you obey the Torah because of freedom in Christ? Let’s say Jesus proclaimed the Law for all time in those few verses in Matt. 5. And let’s say we incorrectly choose & follow Him along the lines of grace through faith & view Torah as truly the old testament. The worst that will happen is to be least in His kingdom.
      But let’s suppose He was saying more what I outlined in the blog article…driving home our raw inability to keep the Law & our desperate need for Messiah. And let’s say we begin in grace & begin attached to Jesus but someone comes along and convinces us we need to also obey Torah. And what if Paul’s words are true? Then the worst for us is to be severed from Christ & fallen from grace. THAT is the worst I can imagine.
      I have looked at Scripture backward & forward. I have read Old & New Testament. I have done so from childhood up (I was one of those kids who just read the Bible because I thought it was interesting & I truly accepted it point blank as words written by God.) When I look at it as a whole, it all lines up along the magnetic poles of grace. There are so many ways it just falls into place. When I flip all that around and try to make Torah the basis, it juts out angularly all over the place. It no longer flows.
      With all my heart, I want to say, it’s ok to love Jesus & follow Torah. And maybe you can if it doesn’t mean more to you than filling in some depth and giving richer history than the pagan roots of Christmas. But it’s such a slippery slope…it can in a blink become a source of pride & superiority (I attest to this in a vast majority of HRM people I personally know & others I meet here online). It is often taught as a means of better pleasing God & gaining righteousness before Him. Those things are purely false.
      The trouble I have with saying it’s perfectly ok to love Jesus and follow Torah is 1. Almost always the underlying belief here is that God REQUIRES Torah. The minute that is attached, there is no longer freedom in Christ. And the inevitable question of what is it required for? is raised. And 2., how in the world do you get around Galatians and what if Paul is saying what it clearly seems like his crystal clear words are saying.
      Lastly, I’ll add a link here on Christmas & it’s Pagan roots, just for fun. 😊
      Keep seeking the Lord! I’m not sure how much you pray, but pray often for the protection of your heart & mind against false teachings. Ask God often for wisdom. Lean heavily on His word way way more than any words you read here & any words you read on 119’s site. Man is fallible. Always trust God & what you read in Scripture under the interpretation of the Holy Spirit above what any human says a Scripture means.
      Thanks again for the dialogue.
      (I’ve not proofread this at all, so please overlook the typos.)

    • “Please don’t make the mistake of believe that folks in the HRM believe that observance of the law brings salvation, for even His people before Messiah’s crucifixion and resurrection were saved by faith through the grace of the creator.”

      That idea (that Torah is followed because it brings salvation) is very common among “the law is done away with” crowd. Apparently it doesn’t occur to them that it might actually be possible to follow God’s instruction because He sent His Son as Savior, and they love the Lord their God. Also, it doesn’t occur to them that they should market this ability they have, to look into hearts to discern the reason why any given person is following God’s instruction.

      Another piece of data to add to your list: Paul tells Timothy “But continue in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing of whom you have learned them; And that from a child you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” Well we know that around the time Paul wrote this, the four gospels and certainly the Pauline letters were not canonized yet. Paul was referencing the Tanakh, or the Torah, the Writings and the Prophets. And they are able to make one wise in this area, as Messiah pointed out in John 5:45-46. Moses wrote of Messiah.

      Also in Acts, it was Paul’s custom to go to the synagogue service. Didn’t Paul get the memo that the day of worship is now Sunday, now that Messiah has died, “nailed the Torah to the cross”, i.e., His own Torah, mind you, and changed sabbath to Sunday?

      • I love that part in Timothy. 14But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. 15You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

    • Wow, you write some long posts. I have a few things to say broken up into separate posts.

      Your Point 1: It’s really irrelevant to us in the new covenant whether the law of Moses stands or not, because we in Christ are dead to the law. Laws do not have authority over dead people. Either we believe what Paul said in this regard, or we don’t.

    • Your Point 2: Romans 3:31 does not say “THE law”, but simply “law”. So Paul was not specific to indicate what law he was referring. He couldn’t have been referring to the law of Moses because in Ephesians 2:14-15 he said that law was nullified, i.e., rendered powerless. So perhaps he meant upholding the principle or rule of law in general; or more likely that faith established the two greatest commandments of the law, which are faith and love, by becoming the greatest commandment of the new covenant mentioned in 1 John 3:23:

      And this is his commandment: that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he commanded us. 1 John 3:23

      Next, breaking a commandment does not always mean that sin has been committed. David broke the law by eating showbread from the tabernacle in Nob and was blameless. The priests in the temple broke the law on the sabbaths and were blameless. That’s because righteousness comes from GOD, not man.

      I say all of this in regards to the 4th commandment, which was given to Israel as a sign for them to know it was the lord who sanctified them. The lord made the sabbath holy. Which of the two is more holy? The lord, of course. And since he is one with his body, we are more holy than the sabbath. How then can the sabbath possibly sanctify us? It can’t. Only the holy spirit can, and it is our witness that GOD is the one sanctifying us. So even if the 4th commandment is broken, it’s meaningless in terms of righteousness because the son of man is lord of the sabbath and makes holy whom he will.

      • “Next, breaking a commandment does not always mean that sin has been committed. ”

        John, in 1 John 3:4 would disagree with you: “Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law”.

        Explain your stance.

    • Your Point 3: I don’t think GOD is impressed with our love for him and the works that we might do out of that love because in his eyes the only thing that we can work is iniquity. Love is not our love for GOD, but his love for us. The love of GOD is believing in that love, and expressing it to others.

  4. I was also going to come back and address point by point some of the things you wrote in your last response, but first I’d like to ask you to do something for me.

    Again I want to stress that I am just starting to investigate the Hebrew Roots perspective–I am not a devotee out proselytizing. I have only posted one other comment to one other blog (before my first comment here) and it was very similar to my first post here. (it was made at https://agonizinglyhonestchristianity.wordpress.com/2009/03/06/what-does-jesus-teach-in-matthew-5-concerning-the-law/ but I don’t know if it’s an active blog as my comment hasn’t been approved after over a week.) I say this because I feel I might sound like I’m engaged in apologetics for the HRM when I’m honestly just investigating it at this stage.

    Just yesterday I started listening to 119 Ministries’ Pauline Paradox video series. The real meat doesn’t even begin until the 2nd video at about the 22 minute mark. I think when examining a viewpoint one should take all sides into account and weigh the evidence. That’s what I’m trying to do for myself. What I would ask you to do is this: Start at minute 22 and watch 15-20 minutes of the 2nd Pauline Paradox video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkbKCdPZ_8Q.

    Everything before this point in the series seems to be exhorting the viewer to “test everything”, and the first video (I didn’t watch it all) doesn’t really get into actual discussion of Paul’s writings as far as I could tell. So if you start at minute 22 of the second video that’s where the actual discussion of Paul’s first appearance in the new testament begins, and before any discussion of Paul’s “difficult” writings begins, what is discussed and shown through many scriptures is Paul’s adherence to the law and the logical inconsistency that is raised if he is truly writing against the law. The evidence and logic presented is pretty powerful. Take just that little bit of time to dig into this and see what you think.

    I’m mostly through the 2nd video and there has still been no discussion yet of Paul’s difficult passages–only discussion of Paul’s torah observance and how difficult it would be to imagine him holding the position the church thinks he does regarding torah. For this believe it is a very interesting discussion and worthy of considering.

    I would be interested in your take on it.

  5. I’m back 🙂 I don’t know why the Christmas link? But starting to read it…WOW! Just Wow. I mean, forsaking the Holy days established by God Himself and substituting a pagan holiday, and then finding a reflection of one’s own pagan roots as a reason to celebrate it, while ignoring the Lord’s Holy days? Just WOW. I can’t continue reading it because it pains me. If ever there was an example of falling short, that is one of the better ones! How twisted this logic is!

    Okay so I’m going to leave you with just a little bit of logic to think about, and as I’ve said before I probably shouldn’t be doing all this posting anyway, so I’ll post this once more and stop. I am admittedly woefully ignorant when it comes to God’s word, despite having been a believer for 40 years. Only now I think I’m beginning to really understand, but I’m on a kindergarten or pre-school level. Really I’m embarrassed at myself for having taking so long to really dig into everything the way I’m digging now.

    In fact, I’m *so* ignorant that as I got further in the 119 ministries series on Paul, the 4th video had my head spinning as he started talking about the 7 different “laws” Paul references in Romans. I had to stop, realize that I could spend months wrestling with Paul’s writings.

    As I thought about it though, it seemed as if it shouldn’t be so complicated. All I really need to do is determine whether Paul’s “no longer under the law” really means the law is done away with, or does it mean something else entirely? That’s really the question I’m facing, because the sheer volume of evidence that God’s law is intact and applicable to us today, stands opposed to this interpretation of Paul. It’s sort of the last remaining barrier that either needs to fall as untrue, or stand as true as the church teaches and cause me to turn back to my former ways.

    Mainstream Christianity says one of two things about the law: It is no longer applicable (has been done away with), or it changed with Jesus. It’s hard to tell which at times–I mean my wife and I are frequently flummoxed by some of the things that Christians can find acceptable. Take for example something as simple as a TV show that glorifies ungodly things. If one finds it objectionable and says something about it, another Christian who watches it will label you legalistic and justify watching it as his/her freedom in Christ. Or take for example the number of Christians who expressed solidarity with the “gay rights” movement by including the rainbow symbol on their Facebook profile pictures.

    Why do we have such trouble identifying and shunning sin? Is it acceptable that we each define sin for ourselves? Or is sin defined by God? If sin is defined by God, where do we go for the definition? The Torah! Sin is falling short of God’s instructions/commands, correct? It seems to me that no matter what the church might say about the law, we’ve pretty much abandoned it wholesale.

    So as I am wrestling with these things as a church going Christian, I find that Jesus declares that nothing would be taken from the law until all was fulfilled, and that disobeying the least commandment or teaching others to do so makes one the least in the kingdom of heaven. I find that ALL of the apostles, after Jesus supposedly did away with the law, continue to follow Torah, and for centuries this continues to be the case for Jewish believers as evidenced by writings of church fathers about the Nazarenes (the sect of which Paul was a member per Acts 24:5.)

    I see also that only Paul’s writings, (and then only *some* of them, because the rest of them are extremely pro-law), can be seen as possibly indicating we are no longer “under the law”, but then find that extremely difficult to reconcile with his *extreme* observance of the law (to the point where he has to take a nazarite vow to convince Jewish leaders of his devotion to the law, because his teachings are that difficult.)

    In fact Peter has to warn believers in 2 Peter 3:15-17 that Paul’s writings are difficult, and that “ignorant and unstable people distort them, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction”. He warns the faithful to “not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.” Note the word lawless? That’s Torah-less or lack of the law that Peter is speaking against!

    Jesus himself warned of lawlessness: Matt 24:12 “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” or Matt 7:23 And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.” It is so abundantly clear.

    So, Paul is really the only obstacle to the understanding that the law has NOT been done away with. Therefore, with the preponderance of evidence otherwise, I have to figure out how it is that in Roman’s 6:14 Paul says we’re not longer “under the law”, but follows that up by saying “Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!”

    This is how I eventually work it out:

    1. What is sin? If we are no longer under the law, but do not have a license to sin, then let us define sin so we know what to avoid. I submit that God, rather than man, defines sin, as he is Holy and Perfect (and we are not.) Agree?

    2. If God defines sin, where do we find that definition? In His Word! 1 John 3:4 “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.” Agree?

    3. Therefore, if we sin, we break the law. Conversely, if we do not sin, we keep the law. There is no definition of sin that makes sense outside of God’s perfect instructions, as the very definition of sin is to fall short of the law. Agree?

    4. Therefore, it is literally impossible for the law to have been done away with if we are to still avoid sin. It’s no wonder the apostles were torah observant!

    5. You absolutely have to acknowledge that the law still applies if sin is still sin–there is simply no way around it. This proves beyond any doubt that Paul’s “no longer under the law” doesn’t mean quite what the church might tell us. Rather, it seems to me contextually that we are no longer under the condemnation of the law–we are dead to the law through the atonement of Messiah so that we are free from the bondage (marriage) to sin, freeing us to be the unblemished bride of Messiah. (And to then joyfully follow Him by keeping His commandments.)

    Taking this a little further–what is this Freedom in Christ exactly that we are so fond of using to justify all manner of lawlessness? According to 1 John, Jesus is The Word incarnate–the perfect example of God’s instructions. Freedom *IN* Christ is freedom *IN* the law! Per 1 John 2:6 to abide in Him is to walk as he walked–lawfully. Throughout the scriptures we are told that the law *IS* liberty. How? Because of God’s promises! Obedience to the law brought peace and prosperity to His people, and security in the land He promised them. Rebellion against it saw them conquered and carried into captivity. The law is quite literally freedom!

    Look at the current state of our country–it is falling down around us. How much longer will we be free? Are we really even free today as compared to 200 and some odd years ago? If it can be demonstrated that the law is still in effect, (as it seems very easy to do), then it goes without saying that we as believers are not keeping it, and in this we sin, and despite God’s long-suffering we *will* eventually suffer the consequences of our sin.

    Of course it bears repeating that observance of the law is not salvation. That is given by faith in Messiah, through the Father’s grace. Then, grateful for his gift of eternal life, we love him, which is evidenced by our following His commandments. Paul is definitely not absolving us of following that which Jesus himself said would prove we love him.

    Simply put, sin is breaking the law, therefore the absence of a license to continue sinning is equal to a mandate to NOT sin, a mandate to FOLLOW THE LAW! Really, can it be any more clear and obvious?

    Again, thanks for the opportunity to dialogue–it has really been a blessing to me. Having a reason to write some of this out helps to me to think it through, to work it out for myself, and I continue to stumble into clear and compelling evidence that I’m on the right path as I seek the truth and a deeper and more authentic expression of my faith. As I mentioned before, the joy of my salvation is returning, and my love for my creator has been rekindled. It’s exciting! My only regret is that it has taken me so long.

    I won’t continue to belabor these points, and I do apologize for the length of my posts. I get to writing and things get out of control. I think I’m trying to express something simple and logical and it takes me far more words to get it out than I anticipate. I’m not good at articulating, but hopefully what I’ve written is useful to someone out there.

    I appreciate you as a Sister in the Faith, and wish you the best in your walk. Don’t you wish we could all just plug into God and have perfect knowledge downloaded into our minds? Despite the saying “No man is an island”, we really are to a certain extent–each of us autonomous, responsible for our own understanding, brought into this world and a temporary existence in it with a distinct lack of knowledge, struggling throughout life to perfect our faith through study of His Word, and each of us coming to different and sometimes conflicting conclusions, all of them less than perfect. I so look forward to the day when all questions will be answered, and am glad that salvation is so freely offered and easily attained through a child-like faith in Him. Otherwise we would all be justifiably damned. Thank God we can rest in the promise of eternal life through faith, and debate the finer points as brothers and sisters squabbling amongst themselves, while remaining assured of our place in His family.

    • Sir, I thank you for your words. You claim to not be eloquent and concise but I found your writing to be quite clear and coherent. I also happen to agree with you on all points, as I myself am finding new joy in my faith through the HRM. I also long for the day when all my questions will be answered, but this new joy comes from understanding just how PERFECT my Messiah was, is, and always will be! He is the WORD and I am in LOVE!!

  6. After my last post I re-read some of your comments and realized why the Christmas link. I also wanted to comment on your comments related to my wife, which I had sort of glossed over before. Don’t worry about that–as I mentioned I’m being extremely careful in that area. I love my wife, and I’m continuing to attend church for family unity. I will continue to attend church with her until she decides not to attend herself, which may mean I never stop attending. However, she is at least now starting to look at these things with me to an extent. I value her viewpoint and input, and have asked her to be my second opinion and help me test things.

    You can find haughty and bull headed people in church or in HRM, or in LDS, or in Catholicism, etc. So far those I have met in the local groups are very humble, sweet and excited about their walk with the Lord. I continue to leave the door open that I could be wrong–after all I fear and seek to avoid embracing something solely because I want to, rather than being fully convinced of its truth.

    Pride is something I abhor–not that I am immune to it, and in fact I’ve been prideful before. I’ve been prideful before and thought I was not prideful. Only recently have I truly realized the depths of my own depravity, how I am nowhere near the man I think I am, or want to/should be, and that I have absolutely nothing to be proud of or to boast in. I hope that comes across in my writing too. Believe me I will avoid self pride to the best of my feeble ability 🙂

    Galatians proves that salvation is not obtained by keeping the law. It does not suggest that keeping the law severs us from Christ. Keeping the law for salvation is what is disproven by Galatians. Again you *must* reconcile Paul to his torah observance, to ALL the apostles’ torah observance, and to his obvious pro-Torah writings. You can’t have it both ways.

    Either Christ did away with the law and was stating such in Matthew 5:17-19, and thus the apostles were weak in the faith through their unnecessary law keeping, or what is plainly written there is the way it is and it’s therefore quite evident why the apostles continued to kept the law as did their Messiah and Lord.

    If you take Jeremiah 31 to be a description of the new covenant in Christ, then you must take notice of a couple things: 1) the new covenant is made with Israel and Judah (the two houses/kingdoms which again reminds us that as gentiles we are grafted into Israel, not replacing Israel), and 2) he has put HIS LAW in our minds and has written them on our hearts, so that we may follow them. It is still HIS LAW that is our guide to righteous living. Otherwise we say we have the Holy Spirit to guide us but no concrete measure by which we can identify said guidance. The Holy Spirit is instructing some of us much differently than others as evidenced by the myriad of unlawful behaviors we justify to ourselves.

    That’s how we end up ignoring God’s instructions to avoid the pagan practices of the culture around us, abandoning his instructions and replacing them with pagan traditions, and then adding insult to injury by then justifying it by pointing to our former pagan roots!

    • I think I will leave all you said alone except for your Galatians comment. It’s not at all dealing with salvation. It talks about starting out by the Spirit, then continuing by the flesh (which interestingly enough, he associated directly the flesh with walking according to the law…food for thought there). But, if you are unsaved, you don’t have the Spirit in which to begin. If you are unsaved, you are not connected to Christ in the first place where you can be severed. There has been no grace transaction in your life from which to fall away. Only someone who is already saved has those things & is related to Christ in those ways. And this is interesting too: “2 Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you.” -Galatians 5:2 If you read the whole chapter (or book really) it’s clear he’s using circumcision as the hallmark example of law keeping. And he’s basically summarizing that if you choose to keep the law, Christ is of no benefit to you. It’s an either/or. You either choose Christ exclusively, or you go the path of the law.

      As I said, your other points I will leave alone because I think it is a case of you are fairly convinced one way & I another. If there is more you want to discuss there, I will; so let me know if I have misunderstood your meaning. May the Holy Spirit guide & teach you as He desires.

    • “Galatians proves that salvation is not obtained by keeping the law. It does not suggest that keeping the law severs us from Christ. ”

      Keeping the law is exactly what severs you from Christ. Keeping the law is unbelief.

      • Let me help you make your statement: “Keeping the law FOR SALVATION is unbelief”. THAT much is true.

        There is no keeping the law but for salvation? is that your stance? said differently: you have the ability to look into the hearts of those who look to God’s law as the words of this life, and you can see that they follow HIs instruction because they think that makes them good people, since for you it is impossible to conceive someone could be looking to the instruction of Jesus (the lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world for them) that Jesus gave from Sinai for their benefit in this life, as He intended His instruction to bless them.

        For you the only reason someone could be trying to ordain his/her life after the instruction of God (Jesus) given through Moses is that that persons is doing it for their salvation. This requires you to be able to look in their hearts. Do you have this skill?

    • “Either Christ did away with the law and was stating such in Matthew 5:17-19, and thus the apostles were weak in the faith through their unnecessary law keeping, or what is plainly written there is the way it is and it’s therefore quite evident why the apostles continued to kept the law as did their Messiah and Lord.”

      In Acts 15, Peter called the law a yoke that neither they (the apostles and believers) not their fathers could bear.

      All law keeping is a weakness of faith. Works of law are the antithesis of faith.

    • “he has put HIS LAW in our minds and has written them on our hearts, so that we may follow them. It is still HIS LAW that is our guide to righteous living. Otherwise we say we have the Holy Spirit to guide us but no concrete measure by which we can identify said guidance. The Holy Spirit is instructing some of us much differently than others as evidenced by the myriad of unlawful behaviors we justify to ourselves.”

      GOD’s law written in our hearts is just a metaphor for the indwelling holy spirit. So we are to follow it, not law. The concrete measure of guidance is the holy spirit itself; it witnesses to the truth.

    • Troy, I have found your comments very well said and helpful. I think you are very good at articulating! It may not all be as concise as you wanted, but it was all very clear.

      I want to add that another thought… Some feel that following rules shows a lack of faith, and I used to think that way. I find myself thinking something else lately — that it is less about rules that close you in, and more about a pattern for freedom.

      The word Torah which we so often translate as “law” is also “instruction”, as you are well aware. It has occurred to me that following God’s patterns of life is a way for us to, like our Savior, break the power of the enemy, by acting opposite the ways of the world, the patterns of death.

      This takes trust and shows faith because I say that I believe God–not just that He is there, but that He is who He says and does what He promises, and trust that His thoughts are higher than mine. So now I show it by living generously and resting — even when I may feel urgency to work more than I should (for example) — choosing to push back temptation to worry or stress by trusting that He is faithful and able to fill in any gaps created by my rest and giving. I believe that He is not a Father who will leave me needy when I have taken action to obey and be loyal to Him, even when it wasn’t easy.

      We show our faith BY our works! I often regret getting pulled into reading web comments because are often so nasty, but I am glad I took the time to read some of this thread!!

      THANK YOU to Leah for hosting this dialogue. I know this is all a little old, but I hope you’re all well and enjoying the blessings of the Savior today, wherever you are! 🙂

  7. The apparent contradiction is more easily explained. Jesus didn’t come to destroy the law, but he did come to destroy satan’s power. The power of sin is the law. We in Christ have died to the law. Therefore, the law has no power over us to condemn us; it’s power has been abolished. Apart from edification, it has no influence over a believer’s life. I have included two verses below to illustrate this reality.

    Matthew 5:17-18 (KJV)
    17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
    18 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.

    destroy
    G2647 καταλύω kataluo
    1. to loosen down (disintegrate)
    2. (by implication) to demolish

    GREEK-ENGLISH LEXICON of the NEW TESTAMENT BASED ON SEMANTIC DOMAINS
    20.54 καταλύωa; καθαιρέωc; καθαίρεσιςa, εως f: to destroy completely by tearing down and dismantling—‘to destroy, to tear down, destruction.’
    καταλύωa: οὐκ ἀφεθήσεται λίθος ἐπὶ λίθῳ ὃς οὐ καταλυθήσεται ‘there will not be one stone left on another which will not be torn down’ Lk 21:6.

    ============================================================================

    For [Christ] is our peace, who has made both [Jew and gentile] one, destroying the middle wall of the barrier, the enmity, in his flesh; having abolished the law (nomos) of commandments (entoles) contained in ordinances (dogmas); that of the two he should make in himself one new man, so making peace. Ephesians 2:14-15

    abolish
    G2673 καταργέω katargeo
    1. to make entirely idle

    GREEK-ENGLISH LEXICON of the NEW TESTAMENT BASED ON SEMANTIC DOMAINS
    76.26 καταργέωc: to render ineffective the power or force of something—‘to invalidate, to abolish, to cause not to function.’ τὸν νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασιν καταργήσας ‘to abolish the Law of commandments consisting of regulations’ Eph 2:15;

    • Wow, thanks for explaining that the way to show faith in Christ is to break the law.

      I had always shied away from things like bestiality and teaching my daughter’s to be whores. But now I see it was wrong of me. These things are only mentioned in old testament law. They are not mentioned in the New Testament. So by your logic I have been sinning by staying away. I guess when Paul asked the Romans “should I therefore sin that Grace May abound? God Forbid! ” he was kidding.

      Obviously I am being sarcastic.

      The new testament. Definition of sin 1John 3 is violating the law. You should also look into the definition of iniquity. Then look at what Jesus Will,say to the workers of iniquity at judgement.

      You lovers of lawlessness. Crack me up.

      We are saved by Grace through faith. Not works. But faith without works is lost.

      Read the whole bible and do what it says. That’s pretty simple.

      • I understand. Lawless people (like yourself apparently) need law to keep them in line. It seems to be beyond their grasp that the spirit can guide them in lawful behavior apart from the law.

        btw, read 1John 3:4 in Greek and you will find that the words “the law” are not there.

        Let me restate one of your comments the way I’ve come to learn how folks like you really mean it:

        “We are saved by Grace through faith. Not works [of law]. But faith without works [of law] is lost.”

    • Then why did Paul exhort Timothy to go to the scriptures that he learned as a child, as they were able to make him (Timothy) wise toward salvation through faith in Messiah? This is not a difficult writing. The scriptures, as Timothy knew them, would have been the Tanakh. Everything from Matthew on didn’t exist as scripture. And Jesus points out that Moses wrote of Jesus in John 5:45-46. Seems if one would want to learn about Jesus, one would go read Moses. But that’s not what is taught today.

      Why is it so impossible for Christians to learn the ways of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (ie, Jesus) and keep them, not out of a requirement for salvation, but because they love Him, and thus they love His ways? why is it impossible for them to keep His ways because they are grateful that He is their salvation today like He was for His people when He (Jesus) rescued them out of Egypt? in fact, that’s what His name means: salvation.

      Then there’s the apostles in Acts. They expected new converts to be taught four basic instructions straight out of the Torah of Moses, and the rest the new converts would be exposed to in the synagogues, where Moses was/is read every sabbath. That’s not what is taught today. Seems Christians were expected to go into synagogues and “do battle”—in a nice way, bringing people into the kingdom of God. Certainly not by going in there to tell them Sunday is the day of the Lord. NOte in Isaiah 66 how in the new earth, from sabbath to sabbath not from Sunday to Sunday, will all flesh worship the Ancient of Days (Jesus). So right there, it seems once the world was taught about sabbath…it got changed to Sunday…and it will be changed to sabbath again in the future. Does that change sound right to you? you who are His sheep—do you hear His voice approving of such a change, from Him who is the same yesterday, today and forever? or do you hear something different, something the children of Israel heard, when they stood at the foot of the mountain: “Remember the sabbath day…”

      Are you about the business of remembering or forgetting it?

  8. The greek word anomia means lawlessness and is twice used in 1 John 3:4. You are correct that “the law” specifically is not there, but lawlessness most definitely is.

    Other uses:

    Matt 7:23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

    Matt 13:41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers,

    Matt 23:28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

    Matt 24:12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.

    Rom 4:7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;

    13 in all I think, there are just the first few occurrences.

    Of course the law has been abolished, so these verses have no meaning.

  9. I have been reading through all of these comments and I am and have struggled for several years with trying to fully understand what Paul is saying and how it relates to the whole Word of God. The bottom line is, In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God and the Word was God…..and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. He was in the beginning with God. (Taken from John 1). Jesus came to set us free from the consequences of sin which is death. Sin is transgression of the law. The law itself is not sin, but “The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.(Ps. 19:7)”. That would be like saying He came to set us free from Himself. He is the fulfillment of the law and is therefore our covering to atone for our sin. When He said “It is finished,” He was saying that the price for our sin (transgression of God’s Word, and Jesus is the Word) has been paid. We are all on a journey and are all at different places in our relationship with Him, but the bottom line is that if we are in Christ, we are a new creation. The old has passed away (our sinful, helpless state), the new has come (being made right with God, through the blood of the Lamb). We now should be working out our salvation with fear and trembling and listening carefully to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and testing that conviction with the Word of God. They will never contradict one another. The enemy likes to muddy the waters and make us think that somehow by keeping the law, we are made righteous, so that we become puffed up and begin judging others who are not as “righteous” as ourselves because we are keeping laws that they are not. That is not the point of obedience. We obey because we love Him and we show Him our love by laying down our lives for Him in obedience to His Word. I still have many struggles and things to overcome and have, on my journey with the Lord, thought that somehow, I had become more enlightened than other believers who were clearly loving others much more than I was. I am humbled that God still has grace and mercy with me and I pray everyday that He will continue to reveal the sin in my life that so easily entangles me so that I may hear Him clearly and do what He says. The Spirit and flesh battle daily and I pray that I will decrease and He will increase in me so that I am a fragrance of Him to those I am around. My husband has been a pastor for 17 years and last year we stepped down from his position because our church no longer agreed with the way we were walking (laying down man made traditions that aren’t found in scripture). We chose to leave and not bring division to the body because we desired to share truth and not compromise on what God was showing us and the church was not ready to hear what we had to say. We hope and pray that as we walk this out that our lives will look like Him and point others to Him. We have made so many missteps along the way, but we repent and dust ourselves off, praising Him for His patience with our fumbles and keep moving forward. I can see things that both sides are saying and weigh them all. Being a student of the Word is so important, but sometime we can become so engrossed in proving we are right that we miss actually being the hands and feet of Jesus. I have been guilty of this and am seeking to change those ways and rely on His perfection not my ability to be perfect (because I can’t be perfect without Him). I hope this makes sense. I have read and re-read through it, and hope that we will all be found faithful at His appearing.

  10. Paul’s writings are very difficult. It takes a scholar that has training in the biblical languages to understand them. Most scholars do not agree with many pastors about Paul. Problems arise when we do not use proper hermeneutic to explain these difficult passages. I have been a Christian for 30 plus years and would not attempt to explain them. But, I do highly recommend a scholar who has dedicated 30 years of research into Paul’s writings. N.T. Wright is taught in most seminaries now and he is “No” slouch. You can find his books about Paul’s writings on Amazon. Also, Dr. Daniel Wallace has a great book on the introduction to hermeneutics. This book is widely used in the seminaries too. Study to show yourselves to be approved. Blessings!

    • Hermeneutics are helpful, however, I wonder how did Noah know what was a clean vs unclean animal? how did Abraham know to teach his children and his household after him the ways of God? for example, where did Abraham get the knowledge to tithe? to circumcise? where did Joseph get the idea that adultery with his master’s wife was an abomination to the God of [the later appearing] Israelites? where did Joseph’s brothers learn that murder was a sin (which they felt they were being made to pay for by their misfortunes before the “viceroy of Egypt”)?

      It seems these ideas are not new, and they existed before there was a “law of God” to debate, before there were hermeneutics to help anyone figure these things out.

      Then, something interesting occurs as the we begin to first read the book, something pops up in Genesis 1:14:

      And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark SACRED TIMES (SEASONS in other versions), and days and years…

      He set a signaling system in the sky. To tell what seasons? certainly not spring/summer/fall/winter. What sacred times? an answer is the times He later taught, that were sacred to, and set aside by, the Creator of that signaling system. The season of passover, the season of Unleavened Bread, the season of Firstfruits, the season of the feast of Tabernacles, the season of Atonement, and so on.

      If the above is the answer (and the reader will have to decide for him/herself), we are expected to believe: He set up this signaling system in the sky for a recurring yearly reminder….but now it plays no role in directing the affairs of humankind. If the above is the answer, and it is, as it is taught, that Jesus nailed these ideas to the cross, I don’t hear this taught: He set up the signaling system for eternity, it’s still there as anyone can go see for him/herself, but today, it plays no role in the affairs of humankind because of the finished work of Jesus.

      Assuming the above is the answer for Genesis 1:14, I’m expected to believe He put a signaling system in the sky, and now expects us to ignore it, and for some reason, this paradigm is not being taught.

      Above, in defense of the “it’s done away with” idea, this argument was given:

      “Now back to the beautiful and far-reaching point of Jesus expressing that it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for the Law to fall away UNTIL ALL IS ACCOMPLISHED… The difficulty, the magnitude, the importance of heaven and earth passing away. Think about heaven & earth passing away. An event of all time that is COLOSSAL. Well, on the cross, Jesus accomplished it all: “It is finished.” Finished. Accomplished. Fulfilled. This single event is so HUGE that the only thing easier is for heaven and earth to pass away. Do you see it? The hugeness?”

      No I don’t see the hugeness of it. Because alongside the above concept is the concept that He came to set us free from Himself. Further, He (because Jesus is God and God is one) set up this signaling system in the beginning…but now you’re supposed to ignore it because all is accomplished. Then one reads Isaiah 66, which ends this way: on the new heavens, and on the new earth, “from sabbath to sabbath, from new moon to new moon”, all flesh will worship the king; in Zecharaiah 14, all nations will be celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles.

      SO now: these things were instructed at one time… now they have been done away with since the colossal equivalent of heaven and earth has occurred…but scripture clearly records they will be making a comeback. In addition, the signaling system was set up in the beginning…but you’re supposed to ignore it now.

      Sound right to you?

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