Torah, Grace and the believer
Recently, I was drawn to a comment within a Newsletter, which stated, in part: "Ö.We also have Judaizers coming into the churches and enticing the young believers away into Messianic churches and teaching we have to believe the Torah."
Perhaps the comment wasnít truly meant to express what my eyes read, and what my heart heard when I read it, but it seems this is a golden opportunity to address the issue of exactly what the definition of Torah truly is, by defining it.Without excuse, I am not defending the Messianic madness that seems to have exploded on the scene, but the word Torah is very Biblical, and it seems itís come full circle from what the true meaning is, to what the Messianics are displaying. What is being professed as Torah in their circle of merrymakers is not what the word means in truth. Therefore, it seems like a good place to begin is with the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, which defines Torah, in part, in the following manner: The term Torah (but not Pentateuch) is often applied to the whole Hebrew Scripture (i.e., the later books of the Old Testament), or, even more generally, to that and other Jewish sacred literature and oral tradition. Needless to say, I am not going to defend Jewish sacred literature and their oral traditions, although some of their traditions are exemplary, much like some traditions we hold as a Believer. In this brief article, my goal is to address the singular word Torah. To begin with, we DO have to believe the Torah! Every word of the 66 books of the Bible is intended for our benefit. Psalm 119: 44 So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever. This word "law" that The Psalmist has used here is Torah. As a matter of fact, this whole Psalm is dedicated to The Law Of God. There is no psalm in the whole collection of Psalms which has the appearance of having been exclusively designed for practical and personal improvement, without any reference to national, or even to ecclesiastical relations, than this Psalm 119. Now that weíve seen the definition of Torah, how does this affect the Believer who has been transformed by the saving grace of our Messiah? As you have read above, it also involves the word "law." Now weíve come down to the quandary of Law or Grace. Can we think outside of the box for just a minute here, and see it all as Law AND Grace? Our Sovereign God is BOTH the Law-giver and the Grace-giver, isnít He? As far back as Genesis 6 we can see that Noah found GRACE (Strongís #02580) in the eyes of the Lord. The Law (Torah) of the Lord is perfect, so says the Psalmist (Psalm 19:7). Now we come to the Scripture that explains to us the purpose of the perfect Law: Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. Itís interesting to note that this word "schoolmaster" is actually "pedagogue" which was the servant who had the care of the children to lead them to and bring them back from school, and had the care of them out of school hours. Thus, the Law did not teach us the living, saving knowledge; but, by its rites and ceremonies, and especially by its sacrifices, it directed us to Messiah, that we might be justified by faith. This is a beautiful metaphor, and highly illustrative. Obviously, to anyone with a Biblically reasoning mind, one would never think that when Yeshua said "It is finished" (John 19:30)that He was indicating that every law that God had put in place was null and void! No! The sacrificial laws and the ceremonies had come to an abrupt conclusion, NOT every single law that Almighty God has instituted. One would have to be foolish indeed to follow a "shadow" once the real Substance Himself has been manifest. Nothing, nor anyone, has the power to appease the wrath of God, except the perfect Lamb of God.
Perhaps the confusion injects itself into our thinking because the word "Law" is used in so many ways, and sometimes just tossed about carelessly, much like the word Torah. Thatís why itís critical that we have a correct understanding of these words before we begin to use them with others, and also in studying Godís Word.Now we are led to that glorious moment of Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the Law. This brings us to the end of all of the representative sacrifices as Christ begins with the REAL offering! The Law, Torah, Schoolmaster cannot save us, but it leaves us right at the door of Jesus, the Messiah, where there ALONE salvation is found. The Law convicts us of sin and our need for a Mediator, whereby we place our faith in our Messiah. We simply cannot separate the sacrificial death of Christ from the Law, or it completely obliterates what He has done for us, since we know that the blood of bulls and goats could never take away (atone for) sin. What was finished was the reconciliation for iniquity, and that sacrificial act brought in everlasting righteousness. The Torah/Law will make us more fully appreciate all that the Messiah has done for us. The Law is a moral compass for all people, therefore, we cannot ignore it. We serve one Eternal God Who has made one everlasting covenant, to draw one fold, by way of one Messiah, shown to us completely in one Book. My heartís desire is that this has been a blessing to you and an encouragement.
submitted for the edification of the Saints by Anna L. Schwery.
© 2014 Yad bíYad Ministries
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