While in my car driving this afternoon, I heard a voice on a local Christian radio preaching to any willing listeners that the law of God is evil and causes people to sin. After hearing a couple of verses the preacher quoted, I found myself vexed in my being saddened that still too many have been so easily deceived into thinking something God calls truth (Psalm 119:30,60,142), a blessing (Psalm 119:1-2), wondrous (Psalm 119:18), a delight (Psalm 119:14-16,47), liberty (Psalm 119:44-45; Galatians 5; James 1:25), good doctrine (Proverbs 4:2), knowledge/understanding (Psalm 119:33-34, 73,100; Proverbs 2; Hosea 4:6), a light or lamp (Psalm 119:105-106,129-130; Proverbs 6:23; Matthew 25:1-13), the apple of our eye (Proverbs 7:1-3), for our good (Deut.5:29; 6:24-25; 7:9-26; 10:12-13; Proverbs 3:1-4), for our righteousness and instruction (Deut.6:24-25; Psalm 119:60,142,172; 2 Timothy 3:13-4:3), His will (Romans 2:17-18; 12:1-2), and holy, just and good (Romans 7:12), and spiritual (Romans 7:14) as evil and actually causes one to sin. Not too long ago, a different pastor posted on Facebook that obeying God’s commands is actually cheating on Jesus. After seeing such outlandish rebellion and deception on Facebook as well as hearing this latest attack on God and His word under the guise of faith, it was then while still driving in the car, the Scripture penned by the Apostle Peter, whom our Messiah founded His assembly on, stirred within my spirit. 1 Peter 3:14-18 reads:
“Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:14-18 (ESV)
Just as Jesus speaks in the Book of Revelation of areas various churches excel at as well as areas the church fails at and need to repent of (Rev. 2-3), I, too, have noticed a few important facts about today’s modern, mainstream Christianity church. One thing mainstream Christianity excels at is understanding Jesus, or Yeshua in His original Hebrew name, is the Messiah of the world as foretold throughout the Tanakh, also known as the Old Testament (Psalm 22; Isaiah 7:14; 53; Zechariah 9:9). Christianity indeed excels at spreading the good news of our Savior’s first arrival, His amazing grace, and many understand He will return to rule and reign in His second arrival. However, one big thing much of Christianity seems to fail at is understanding our Messiah was/is, begotten of the God of Israel, was/is still Jewish as were all of the Apostles, and our Messiah will return and reign still as Jewish or one from the tribe of Judah (hence, the slang term for the tribe of Judah being ‘Jew’), and the fact that in the New Jerusalem there is no gate for ‘Gentiles’ to enter (Read ‘Walk Like An Egyptian?‘) nor is the new covenant made with Gentiles (read Jeremiah 31:31-33 – notice the new covenant is with the House of Israel & House of Judah). Again, please read, ‘Walk Like An Egyptian?’ for more clarification. Furthermore, our Jewish Messiah taught that he came to fill up or show us how to be the Living Torah as He is the Living Torah (John 1; 1 Peter 1:22-25) and that not one jot or tittle (writings/grammar/highlights) of the law of God, His Abba (Father in Hebrew) and ours, is done away with or abolished until there is a new heaven and earth (Matthew 5:17-19). Jesus even goes on to say in that same passage that anyone who teaches God’s laws are done away (and even worse to present them as evil) will be considered least in God’s kingdom! Additionally, many do not know that the reason He returns to Earth for a second time is to restore the Earth as He and our Abba Father intended it to be. Specifically, Yeshua teaches us God’s laws (see Isaiah 2, Isaiah 51, Micah 4) as do His priests in the millennium reign of Yeshua before the New Heavens and New Earth are established (Ezekiel 44:23-24). The last chapter in the book of Zechariah, reveals after Yeshua returns to Earth to reign, all the world must participate in the Feast of Tabernacles (see Zechariah 14:16+). Similarly, various passages of the Tanakh (Old Testament) reveal the Israelites and strangers within the faith (even in the New Testament too – see John 12:20) sojourned to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover (‘Pesach’ in Hebrew), Pentecost (‘Shavuot’ in Hebrew), and Feast of Tabernacles (‘Sukkot’ in Hebrew). The Book of Ezekiel seems to indicate the world will also celebrate these feasts of the LORD (Leviticus 23) by traveling to Jerusalem during the millennium reign of Yeshua. To read more about what life will be like during the 1,000 year reign and rule of our Messiah, Yeshua, study Ezekiel 36-46. Likewise, Isaiah 64-66, reveal how Yeshua, the Messiah, feels about violations of God’s laws, such as eating swine or breaking Sabbath, at His return and what true worship looks like (hint: cheerful obedience to our Father’s laws). Clearly, if we celebrate the feasts of the LORD in the millennium and are also taught God’s laws in the Messianic Era, not to mention we currently are not yet in a new heaven and new earth just yet, then how can one seriously argue God’s commands are temporarily done away with, much less evil, or cheating on Jesus? To learn more about such critical truths, read Why Wormwood? and Will We Again Perform Sacrifices? If So, Why?
In other words, much of Christianity excels at making converts but fails at making disciples of Jesus Christ or Yeshua HaMaschiach, for being a disciple of the Jewish Jesus means to do just as He did as the walking, talking Torah (1 John 2:6; John 1; James 1:22-25), honoring His heavenly Father. After all, did Jesus not say in the last verse of the ‘Great Commission’, “Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” in Matthew 28:20 (NKJV)?
Speaking of teaching, human nature is to simply believe what we are taught to believe and do what we are told to do without really investigating the doctrines being spoon fed to those of us sitting in the pews. Most preachers and seminary’s simply spew what they have been taught or what they read in commentaries. Many don’t know that out of a hatred for the Jews, thinking Jews are the sole perpetrators of Jesus’ crucifixion (when in actuality the Jews [1 Thess.2:14-15], the Romans [Matt.27:35], you & I [Rom.3:23;6:23], and the Father [Acts 2:23] killed Him), a bitter root of anti-semitism developed hundreds of years after the first century Messianic Jewish and grafted-in believers (former Gentiles) began following ‘The Way’ (Acts 9:2; Acts 11:26) when the Emperor Constantine and the Council of Nicea made doctrines and rules ostracizing anything remotely Jewish from the Roman Catholic Church (circa 325 AD). Without having the word of God for themselves to study, as well as palpable fear of persecution and wanting to belong, many church goers accepted the authority of the Emperor’s and Catholic Church’s guidelines and doctrines. Even today, with prevalent access to Bibles, many Catholic and Protestant Christians still abide by such doctrines founded in the 4th century rather than seeking the Father with all their heart and minds while allowing His Spirit of Holiness (Holy Spirit) to teach them what is holy (Romans 7:12). Many hearts are closed to hearing anything other than what they’ve been taught. Why? Because to discover something different would mean three humbling and potentially devastating facts: 1) They were deceived. 2) They were wrong. 3) You will be set apart from others and consequently, misunderstood and persecuted. Take heart, beloveds, being angry and grieved upon realizing the gross distortion of God’s voice, His word, as well as scared is totally normal as you come out of proverbial Babylon or Egypt.
If you are still reading, then perhaps you are one of the few that “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3 (NKJV). It’s been my personal experience, the more one is willing to come to Him like a child, while abandoning your preconceived notions and traditions, forgetting everything you think you know about Him, the faster one will grow into a mature son or daughter of Abba in Yeshua and hopefully, start producing lasting and delightful fruit!
Tragically, as evidence of various media outlets, many have been taught that to be ‘under the law’ is being in bondage, legalistic, or even cursing themselves as it is cheating on Jesus. Many believe such things primarily from cherry-picking a few verses out of the Book of Romans and Galatians or various books scribed by the Apostle Paul. I know I certainly was taught that and at first glance at such Scriptures, I can see why one would come to such conclusion. Now, however, when I hear such things I am not sure if I want to cry or laugh at such gross, but clever twisting of Paul’s writings.
“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.” Romans 6:14 (NKJV)
It would seem when reading Romans 6:14, particularly if you simply cherry-pick verses, that being under the law is being under sin. But are God’s laws sin? No. Or is breaking God’s law sin? YES! Whenever one studies a verse, one needs to read it in context as well as compare it to the rest of Scripture. Let’s examine I John 3:4, which reads,
“Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.” 1 John 3″4 (NKJV)
So according to the Jewish Apostle John, under the unction of the Holy Spirit, sin is breaking God’s law or not obeying God’s commandments. The Apostle John also writes in 1 John 2:4,
“He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” I John 2:4 (NKJV)
and how the persecuted saints in the Book of Revelation are described as those who not only believe in Yeshua as their Messiah, but they keep the commandments of God as well.
“Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12 (NKJV)
In I John 2, the Apostle explains the commandments he is inferring are ones from the Torah (see 1 John 2:7), which Jesus especially taught and walked and even raised the standard on (i.e. think about the adultery commandment – Jesus said if you even THINK about a woman lustfully, you have committed adultery – Matt.5:27-30). Did Jesus ever say, don’t worry about such commandments like ‘Thou shall not commit adultery’ (Exodus 19:14,17)? No, rather, Jesus often is found showing grace to those who violated the law, but then saying, “Go and sin no more.” (John 8:11). In other words, Jesus often taught even though I forgive you and am showing you my grace, don’t continue to break My Father’s commands..His law (read Hebrews 10 and Matthew 7).
The confusion in the letters of Apostle Paul, who wasn’t just a Jew, but a law-abiding Pharisee even as a disciple of Yeshua (Acts 23:6; 24:14-16; 26:5), manifests in many Christians today because Paul described two opposing laws at play: The Law of God (also described as the Law of the Spirit/Christ) verses The Law of Sin and Death (also described as the Law of the flesh/sin/death). When we look at the following verses after Romans 6:14, Paul explains now that we are no longer under the curse of breaking God’s law, which is the law of sin and death, but rather grace. But he writes that just because we now get to experience grace, we should still strive to not sin by breaking God’s laws or being without God’s laws or put another way leading a ‘lawless’ lifestyle as many Christians do today out of ignorance. Hence, why Jesus warns, He will one day say to believers who cast out demons, prophesy, and heal the sick, “Depart from me you workers of lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:21-23). Furthermore, Paul implores we be slaves to righteousness, slaves to God’s law or put another way because we are saved by the grace of God, we should want to obey His ways by becoming slaves to His righteousness..His law.
Throughout Romans chapters 6, 7, and 8, Paul goes to great lengths attempting to explain these two opposing laws, but says in Chapter 7, verse 1, unless you know the law this will be very confusing. For me, it became much clearer in Romans 7:21-25:
Vs 21: “I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.” (The law of God is designed to give us knowledge of what is good verse evil..to know the will of God – see Romans 2:17-18. For how can we experience God’s grace if we don’t know what is sin?)
Vs 22: “For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.” (But aren’t most modern day preachers teaching the law of God is evil? Rather, breaking the law of God is evil and has a serious consequence – death according to Romans 3:23 and 6:23; hence, the law of sin and death! Breaking God’s law = Sin = Evil = Law of Sin and Death)
Vs 23: “But I see another law in my members (flesh), warring against the law of my mind (Law of God/Spirit), and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin (Law of Sin & Death/flesh), which is in my members (flesh).”
Go to verse 25: “I thank God- through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Law of God vs. Law of Sin)
So you see Paul isn’t saying the Law/Torah/Commandments of God are evil or bad in any way, but rather the consequence or curse (Deuteronomy 30:11-20; Revelation 21:4,7-8; 22:3,14) in breaking the law is a type of bondage or captivity (as proven by the Babylonian captivity when the Jews broke God’s Sabbath and Sabbath rest for the land every 7 years – see 2 Chron.36). He also goes on in Romans 8:2 saying, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” We have died to the curse of breaking the law, the law of sin and death upon believing in Jesus (Paul explains this also in the Book of Galatians). And that the flesh, or the carnal mind is against the law of God, because the flesh wants us to remain in captivity or bondage to sin – only the Spirit can bring us to delight in the law (Romans 8:4-8). Christ’s shed blood freed us from the curse or wages of sin and death, which is the law of sin and death (Romans 3:23; 6:23). All throughout the Torah, the first 5 books of the Bible, referred to by Jesus and the Apostles as the ‘Law’, warns if you break God’s commandments, which is His voice, you will be cursed (Deut.27:26; Lev.18:5; Rom.10:5; Gal.3:10-14). If you unintentionally broke God’s laws, by accident or not knowing it was a sin, the Levitical High Priest could make atonement for your trespass. Whereas, if a person intentionally sinned, they would be killed. You can read some examples of such practices in Numbers 15. Either way, blood would be shed. When Jesus/Yeshua became the perfect, spotless Passover lamb, He bled to death on the cross to make atonement for our tresspasses so that both the Jew and Gentile could experience not just the blessings of keeping God’s covenant/law (see Galatians 3:13-14; Romans 11), but freedom from the curse of breaking God’s law, whether it was an unintentional sin or intentional, an even better blessing! Specifically, upon His ascension to heaven, He became a spiritual High Priest currently mediating on our behalf to Abba Father in heaven as we ongoingly repent for our latest trespasses against God and others (Hebrews 8). Hence, God’s grace and Christ’s role in heaven. The One who died for our trespasses is actively lobbying God on your behalf – talk about grace, not to mention, credibility!
Sadly, in modern day churches, some preach that if you obey God’s law, which we now know is not sinning, you are cheating on Jesus, due to the verse discussed in Romans 6 as well as some verses in Galatians. Ironically, if you break God’s law, you are actually cheating on God/Jesus or rebelling against your Abba Father’s household rules (whichever way you prefer to think of it is the same concept). All throughout the various books in the Bible written by the prophets, YHVH describes those who break God’s commandments/His laws as whores..as adulterers..as those who break His holy covenant (read the Books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Daniel, etc). When the 12 tribes of Israel as well as the thousands of ‘mixed-multitude’ (former Egyptians/Gentiles who left Egypt alongside the Israelites/Hebrews) committed themselves saying, “We Do” to God’s covenant (Exodus 24:3), much like us grafted-in Israelites (Romans 11) do upon accepting Christ or re-dedicating ourselves to Him, they essentially married God (to put it in a human understanding). Hence, why He often had the prophets declare those who aligned themselves with the One True God, but defied His laws and their vows, as adulterers. Today, we are betrothed or engaged to Yeshua, His son, about to be in an even better covenant, a new covenant, where we will be married to Him for eternity! He is coming back for His Bride who has a stain-free, blemish-free, spotless wedding dress (2 Corinthians 11:2;Ephesians 5:25-27; Revelation 7:13-14; 19:7-9; 21:1-2,9-10) to make her His lawfully wedded wife, which is why the Book of Revelation says in the New Heaven and New Earth, there is no unclean thing, no lawlessness, no sin and death for the glorious (Rev.21), New Covenant has been consummated – all things are made new without spot or blemish (unclean/lawless/sin).
Moreover, if one’s heart is in love with God/Yeshua, in cooperation, His Spirit will circumcise your heart (Deut.10:14-16;30:6; Jeremiah 4:4; Romans 2:28-19), writing God’s Torah/law on our hearts (Jeremiah 31:31-33; Romans 2:13-16; Hebrews 10:14-17). In other words, because of receiving such a generous gift of dying for our sins (breaking God’s laws), we will WANT to obey God’s laws out of a circumcised, heart full of gratitude…a heart of thanksgiving.
The law without the Spirit produces works of the flesh – dead works…and cannot save you (see Acts 15; Book of Galatians; Ephesians 2:8-13). Just as a body without God breathing into it is dead and a spirit without a body is unproductive as well, so is faith without evidence, without fruit, for in Hebraic mindset, to believe is to do (James 1:21-27; 2:14-26). Think of the law like a structure, or body, or systems in place to function, but without the wind in your lungs causing the blood (of Yeshua) to flow through you, that body is meaningless, useless, and dead. Likewise, we cannot see the Spirit or wind, but we can see the effects of His Spirit, the wind, as it transforms the physical. That is where the two, law and Spirit, become one and in that covenant they produce something beautiful – fruit of the Spirit DAILY not just once in awhile like in the Old Testament when the Spirit of the LORD would fall on people on occasion! Having the Spirit write God’s law on your heart, causing you to obey Him (Ezekiel 36:27), brings life! In fact, it’s believed the law of God given to Moses and the people of God was given on Shavuot or Pentecost; hence, one reason why such a festival is commanded to be celebrated. Likewise, the Spirit of Holiness, whose purpose is to guide you into holiness, was given on Pentecost/Shavuot (see Acts 2). What is your motive? Are you begrudgingly obeying God’s commands hoping you can earn your salvation or are you wanting to obey Him out of a great love for Him because He first loved you..BECAUSE of your salvation? Abba is looking for cheerful givers!
Religion views obedience as legalistic. Relationship views obedience as love.
So you see, betrothed ones, out of a circumcised heart, a heart in love, you will no longer be “cheating on Jesus”, rather you will commit and submit unto Him and His way allowing Him to make your heart and your dress beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11). The Torah IS The Living Torah’s love language. Learn His Voice (Deuteronomy 30; John 10:10), then follow His way, His truth, and reproduce His life.
Shalom and Amen,
Carrie R. Turner