THE LAW UNDER GRACE


The letters to the Romans, the Corinthians and the Galatians were written by Rabbi Sha'ul of Tarsus, a Pharisee, the leading Messianic rabbi. They were written after the Age of Grace began. Some excerpts follow.

What is the Law?

Most Christian denominations teach "This is the Age of Grace. Mankind is no longer under the Law." Most Christians think of the Law as primarily a set of rituals, e.g., sin offerings, burnt offerings, phylacteries, etc.

The word usually translated "Law" is Torah. It literally means "teaching". The entire Bible -- the Tanakh and the Brit Chadasha -- is G-d's teaching.

Messianic Jews and Christians agree that we are saved by grace, by G-d's unmerited favor, not by following the Law. But G-d also wants His people to live holy, just as He and His angels do.

The Law is G-d's guidance. Many people misunderstand it as a bully creating arbitrary rules. Don't murder. Don't steal. Don't fornicate. Why? I (G-d) don't like it. Period!

Let's say that I tell you "Don't go outside. There are flash-flood warnings." You think "Cool! I've never seen a flash flood!" You go outside and get swept away by a flash flood.

Did I do anything unfair by warning you?

If we examine the substance of the Torah, we can see that it makes sense. "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your brother."

If we say "We are not under the law", does that mean that murder, theft and adultery no longer cause problems? (Did I miss a memo? Did somebody hold a meeting while I was on vacation?)

Gentiles Who Obey the Law

Romans 2:12-16 [12] All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. [13] For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. [14] (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, [15] since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) [16] This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Yeshua Messiah, as my gospel declares.

WHO IS A JEW?

Romans 2:17-24 [17] Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God; [18] if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; [19] if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, [20] an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth-- [21] you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? [22] You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? [23] You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? [24] As it is written: "God's name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you."

Circumcision

Romans 2:25-27 [25] Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. [26] If those who are not circumcised keep the law's requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? [27] The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.

Being Jewish At Heart

Romans 2:28-29 [28] A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. [29] No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God.

Under Messiah's Law

1 Corinthians 9:20-21 [20] To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. [21] To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Messiah's law), so as to win those not having the law.

John 14:21-24 [21] Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." [23] Yeshua replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. [24] He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

Luke 6:46 Why do you call me, "Lord, Lord," and do not do what I say?

James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

Mark 10:17,19 [17] As Yeshua started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" [19] You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'"

Luke 10:25-28 [25] On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Yeshua. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" [26] "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?" [27] He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind' ; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" [28] "You have answered correctly," Yeshua replied. "Do this and you will live."


Yeshua: I Have Not Come to Abolish the Law

Matthew 5:17-19 [17] "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. [18] I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. [19] Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

EXPLAINING MURDER

Matthew 5:20-22 [20] For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. [21] "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' [22] But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' [meaning uncertain; possibly "One who is loose in life and manners, carefree, unresponsible"] is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.

EXPLAINING ADULTERY

Matthew 5:27-28 [27] "You have heard that it was said, `Do not commit adultery.' [28] But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

SEVEN THINGS THE LORD HATES

Proverbs 6:16-19  [NKJV] [16] These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: [17] A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, [18] a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, [19] a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.

Galatians 5:19-21  [19] The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; [20] idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions [21] and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:26  Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Matthew 19:16-19 [16] Now a man came up to Yeshua and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" [17] ... Yeshua replied. ... "If you want to enter life, obey the commandments." [18] "Which ones?" the man inquired. Yeshua replied, "Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, [19] honor your father and mother,' and `love your neighbor as yourself.'"

Deuteronomy 18:10-12,14   [10] Let no one be found among you ... who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, [11] or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. [12] Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. [14] The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so.

GOD STILL HATES HOMOSEXUAL ACTIVITY

(Not until the 1970's was a distinction drawn between homosexual "orientation" (feelings) and homosexual activity. When the Bible talks about "homosexuals" it is talking about activity not "orientation". A "straight" person who sleeps with others of the same sex comes under these condemnations. Someone with "homosexual orientation" who does not sleep with others of the same sex is not under these condemnations.)

Leviticus 18:22 Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.

Leviticus 20:13 If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 [9] Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexuals [10] nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Romans 1:24-28 [24] Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. [25] They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen. [26] Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. [27] In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. [28] Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. (See the continuation, verses 29-32 below.)

THINGS THAT DESERVE DEATH

Romans 1:29-32 [29] They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, [30] slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; [31] they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. [32] Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Note: The "righteous decree" is against "such things" not against "such a thing". Clearly, this says that the "things" that deserve death are "wickedness, evil, greed", etc., not just homosexual activity.

G-d's Final Word on Law

Revelation 1:1-2,8 [1] The revelation of Yeshua Messiah, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, [2] who testifies to everything he saw--that is, the word of God and the testimony of Yeshua Messiah. [8] "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."

Revelation 21:6-8 [6] He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. [7] He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. [8] But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."

ARE THOSE THE TEACHINGS OF RABBIS WHO BELIEVE IN "GRACE WITHOUT LAW"?


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SOURCE NOTES
Unless noted, quotes are from New International Version
NKJV = New King James Version
Christianized English words restored to Hebrew:
    Jesus -- Yeshua  (Salvation)
Christ -- Messiah  (Chosen One)

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