The common belief within Christianity today is that the Law (Torah) of the Old Testament is no longer valid for today’s converts who are saved by grace and therefore have only to believe. Some say that to recognise and observe the Torah/Law is to return to the curse/bondage of the Law and possibly risk one’s salvation.
Let’s look what Scripture has to say on this subject and I pray you will find the true blessing that the Torah provides.
I begin this article with a message from Batya Wootten.
Law and Grace: A Love Story Written by Batya Wootten
Surely we all agree that the law versus grace arguments have long been a cause for division among the children of Abraham. So we should not be surprised that it has been difficult for us to try to settle this weighty matter on this little forum.
To address this issue, I would like to say the following.
Please forgive me if I sound like I am preaching, but I do feel compelled to write this.
The Father has been using the two houses of Israel to uphold two immutable truths: law and grace. Both are absolutes. He has a law, and He offers grace to the lawbreaker.
Judah has preserved the knowledge of the law, of which Paul writes, "where there is no law, there is no transgression" (Rom 4:15).
This means the law has to be in place in order for us to understand that we have transgressed. If there is no standard we would never know when we transgressed that standard.
The Father’s law presents a high standard, one that man cannot attain to. Mortal man always falls short in one way or another.
The Father’s ever-present, eternal law points out our transgressions. It shows our need for Messiah's sacrifice, for mercy and grace.
When we believe in the Messiah, believe that He died in our place, we find forgiveness, we find Salvation.
“By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph 2:8-9).
We are saved by grace alone, and not on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace (Rom 11:6).
Because the fact that we are saved by grace alone is such an absolute truth, some want to say that a Believer in the Messiah does not have to do anything but believe in the Messiah.
But then comes the rub:
“We are His workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Eph 2:10).
We are called to walk in good works.
James says, “Faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, ‘You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?
“You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,’ and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:17-24).
Once we see that man was created for good works, the question becomes: how can we know what are good works?
We cannot know apart from the Instruction manual that is the Torah.
Our Father says of these Instructions:
“Keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.'” And, "You shall therefore keep every commandment which I am commanding you today, so that you may be strong and go in and possess the land into which you are about to cross to possess it” (Deu 4:6; 11:8).
Because we want to be a strong and wise people, we look to the Torah for truth. There we find the promise of a coming Prophet, one likened unto Moses, one who will speak all that the Father commands Him (Deu 18:18-19). There we find Yeshua.
Scripture foretold that Messiah Yeshua would come to redeem His people, and that He would bring them into a new and better covenant. He would improve the covenants made with Abraham and his heirs, He would add to those covenants the most glorious promise of all, that of eternal life.
Part and parcel of this glorious covenant is the following promise:
"’Behold, days are coming,’ declares YHVH, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,’ declares YHVH. ‘But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,’ declares YHVH, ‘I will put My Torah within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
When we fully enter into this covenant, when we fully enter into our Messiah’s Kingdom, then it will be said of us: "They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know YHVH,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,’ declares YHVH, ‘for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more’ (Jer 31:31-33; also seed Heb 8:8,13; 9:15; 12:24).
In and through our Messiah, we have been made “adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Cor 3:6). As His bond-servants, during our sojourn on this earth we are in the process of having the Father’s Torah written on our hearts, for that is the essence of the New Covenant.
Bond-servants stay with their masters out of love for them.
We are not in our Master’s house because we have a debt to pay, but because we do not want to live anywhere else. We are like the returning prodigal: it is better to be a servant in the Father’s house than to be a king outside of it.
Our Father is looking for people who want to be with Him because of their great love for Him. He is not looking for puppets who obey Him out of fear, nor for those who supposedly obey that they might appear to be as lords over others.
He just wants people who will love Him.
He can give Himself everything else. But the one thing the Creator cannot create, is free will love. Only we can give that to Him.
The Father wants us to want Him even as He wants us.
If we do not understand that it all boils down to love, then we do not understand Torah, which is in truth a love story. Our God is the Living Torah, and He is Love.
He so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son to die in our place, to pay the price for our sins. We in turn love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).
It is a love story.
If we treat one of the Father’s children as though they can be badgered into this type of love, we do not understand the fullness of His love.
If we live in a way that does not give evidence to the world that we are returning this great love to our Master, we do not fully know His love. For to know Him is to love Him. And, if you love Him, you will keep His commandments, the greatest of which is to love Him and to love one another.
To walk in that love in this last day, as we seek to reunite the whole house of Israel, we must realize that the twin truths of law and grace are immutable.
Both are eternal truths. Both must be approached looking through the lens of love.
Written by Batya Wootten
YHWH’s (יהוה) Law/Torah
There are many views concerning the commandments of YHWH. Are the Ten Commandments separate from the rest of the Law? Are any of the commandments for us as believers today? Didn’t Y’Shua (Yahushua) live out the Law perfectly so that we don’t have to? These and many more questions abound amongst believers in the church today. The best and only source to find answers is in the pages of Scripture.
First of all, we must understand what the term Law refers to in Scripture. It refers to the first five books of Mosheh/Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) - The Torah. The Torah is YHWH’s foundational, fundamental instructions for His people. Detailing His role as Creator, Judge, Lawgiver, and Savior among others.
The true meaning of the word ‘law’, where it refers to the Torah has been largely misunderstood within present day Christianity mainly due to our understanding and perception pertaining to the word ‘law’.
The Institute for Scripture Research records the following statement in their Explanatory Notes of their publication of the Scriptures:
Law: We have rendered Torah as “Torah” rather than translating it by an English word, thereby retaining the force and flavour of the original, as it appears in its various contexts. While the closest English word is the traditional ‘law’ (and that is the rendering given in the Greek text of the Messianic Scriptures, from the Greek work nomos), the word Torah is far wider in meaning. It derives from the word yarah which carries the meanings “to cast”, “to lay foundations”, “to sprinkle”, “to water”, “to send out the hand”, “to show”, “to indicate”, “to teach”, “to instruct”. The wordTorah is used in reference to precepts, commands, statutes, judgments, rules, whether in the singular or in groups. Understandably then, it carries the additional meanings of “body of law”, “body of instruction”, etc., and is used to refer also to the entire content of the Humash, the first five books of the Tanak. Indeed, when context indicates that the “law of יהוה” is being referred to, the primary reference is to the Humash.
The Second thing we must look at are the words from YHWH concerning the Renewed Covenant. This is the most misunderstood area of Christianity today.
“See, the days are coming,” declares יהוה, “when I shall make a new covenant with the house of Yisra’ĕl and with the house of Yehudah, not like the covenant I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Mitsrayim, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them,” declares יהוה.
“For this is the covenant I shall make with the house of Yisra’ĕl after those days, declares יהוה: I shall put My Torah in their inward parts, and write it on their hearts. And I shall be their Elohim, and they shall be My people.
Yirmeyahu /Jeremiah 31:31-33
We know that YHWH is speaking of the New Covenant which was sealed in Y’Shua’s sacrifice, because in the very next verse He says that He will forgive their iniquity and remember their sin no more.
Notice also that He says the house of Yisra’ĕl (Israel) and the house of Yehudah (Judah), but then He says the house of Yisra’ĕl. This is because the two will have been united under Messiah. The most astounding part, though, is that YHWH will not only forgive iniquity and sin, but that He will write His law upon our hearts and minds!
“And I shall give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. And I shall take the heart of stone out of your flesh, and I shall give you a heart of flesh, and put My Spirit within you. And I shall cause you to walk in My laws and guard My right-rulings and shall do them”.
Yehezqel (Ezekiel) 36:26&27
YHWH, by His Set-apart Spirit will cause us to walk in His law (statutes, judgments, etc…) and we are supposed to keep and do them. Incidentally statutes and judgments, throughout Scripture, always signify the "law of Mosheh". Yet here it is shown that we will keep and do them by the power of YHWH’s Spirit.
These passages are probably the strongest argument from YHWH as to how we should view not only His Torah, but that the New Covenant is actually a renewing of the Old Covenant! It is now established by the blood of Y’Shua and carried out by the ministry of the Set-apart Spirit working in our hearts.
However, these are not the only passages that deal with the Torah; in fact all of His Word reveals YHWH’s desire for us to walk in His ways and not our own.
One or two laws?
Most people recognize that YHWH has laws and that they are good; however they argue that there are two sets of laws. The Ten Commandments and the Law of Mosheh. They say the Ten Commandments are for all believers, but the Law of Mosheh was just for the Jews and was abolished by Y’Shua when He came in the flesh. Is there a separation between the Ten Commandments and the rest of the Law, which is typically referred to as the law of Mosheh/Torah?
Most people accept that because YHWH gave the whole law to Mosheh, it is first and foremost YHWH’s law. They go on to say that because YHWH wrote only Ten Commandments with His own finger and placed only those stone tablets in the ark, there is a separation. They say, “The law of Mosheh was for the Jews, but the Ten Commandments are for everybody”. Why would YHWH split His people up under two separate laws, when His Word makes it clear that He has only one body, one bride, one people for Himself, where there is neither Jew nor Gentile, but we are all one in Messiah Y’Shua (Galatians 3:28).
The Ten Commandments are identified as the covenant that YHWH made with the congregation at Sinai. However, when examined closely, we see that the Ten Commandments are really a “table of contents”, so to speak, of the whole law.
Scripture supports this and it makes sense when viewed through people’s lives and the various commands from the law of Mosheh that they want to follow if they love YHWH - Not consulting mediums or astrologers, honoring the elderly, not following certain fashions of the world, not committing bestiality, or not cutting oneself for the dead, which are all commands from the law of Mosheh. Also, notice in Exodus 24:7 it says, And he (Mosheh/Moses) took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that יהוה has spoken we shall do, and obey.”
The “Book of the Covenant” referred to here is the Torah/Law - the Ten Commandments as well as the other laws that God gave Mosheh on the Mountain. Notice that the previous three chapters contained laws and ordinances, other than the Ten Commandments that YHWH had given Mosheh. In fact, when Mosheh went up onto the mountain for forty days and forty nights, he was given not only the tablets with the Ten Commandments written on them, but also a host of other laws, statutes, and judgments. Nowhere is it implied in these scriptures that there are two separate laws from YHWH.
YHWH gave His commands and statutes and judgments for our instruction and benefit (Deḇarim /Deuteronomy 10:13; Romans 2:18).
In 2 Timothy 3:16 &17 we read:
All Scripture is breathed by Elohim and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for setting straight, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of Elohim might be fitted, equipped for every good work.
It is ridiculous to think that Y’Shua abolished all of that when He died on the cross. Why would He want to take away His directions for set-apart living that He commanded in the first place?
Y’Shua was the very Word/Torah made flesh. He was not only part of the Word but the complete Word. To take away from the Word would be to reduce Who Y’Shua is.
As we will continue to see, there is only one law, though not all of the commandments still apply to us. YHWH’s word defines the role of each law in a believer’s life if we take the time to study it, remembering that Y’Shua is the living Word and everything has its beginning and end in Him. He is the reason for obedience. He is the goal of the law. Through faith in Him, our Elohim and Savior, we establish His Torah (Romans 3:31).
“There is one Torah for the native-born and for the stranger who sojourns among you.”
“There is one Torah for the native-born and for the stranger who sojourns among you.”
“And when a stranger sojourns with you and shall perform the Passover to יהוה, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and perform it, and he shall be as a native of the land. But let no uncircumcised eat of it.
We no longer have to circumcise in the flesh (*as an adult) to be accepted (Galatians 2:16) because it was always a matter of circumcising the heart (Deuteronomy 10:16; 30:6; Jeremiah 4:4;9:26). Our hearts are circumcised in, and by, Y’Shua (Colossians 2:11).
* There are differing views on adult circumcision. You need to pray for wisdom in this regard. Our belief is that physical circumcision is still valid for infants but not for adult converts. Our motivation for this view is based on Acts 16:3
“Sha’ul wished to have this one go with him. And he took him and circumcised him because of the Yehudim who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was Greek.”
If the need still existed for adult convert circumcision then surely Sha’ul would not have mentioned that the reason for circumcising Timothy was due to the Yehudim (Jews).
‘You are to have one right-ruling, for the stranger and for the native, for I am יהוה your Elohim.’ ”
‘One law is for you of the assembly and for the stranger who sojourns with you – a law forever throughout your generations. As you are, so is the stranger before יהוה.
‘One Torah and one right-ruling is for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you.’
Also: Wayyiqra/Leviticus 16:29; 18:26; Bemiḏbar/ Numbers 9:14
“this Ezra came up from Babel. And he was a scribe, skilled in the Torah of Mosheh, which יהוה Elohim of Yisra’ĕl had given
For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Torah of יהוה, and to do it, and to teach laws and right-rulings in Yisra’ĕl.
For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Torah of YHWH, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Yisra’ĕl.”
-Notice the Torah is called both the Torah of Mosheh (which YHWH gave) and the Torah of YHWH in this chapter.
Laws and right-rulings are always identified with the Law (Torah) of Mosheh, yet here they are referred to as the Torah of YHWH.
Notice in Nehemiah 8:1-8 there are several terms or titles given to the same law:
v1. the Book of the Torah of Mosheh, which יהוה had commanded Yisra’ĕl.
v2. The Torah
v3. The Book of the Torah
v5. The book
v8. The Book of the Torah of Elohim
- Same law - different names
22 And when the days of her cleansing according to the Torah of Mosheh were completed, they brought Him to Yerushalayim to present Him to יהוה
23 as it has been written in the Torah of יהוה, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called set-apart to יהוה” – (Shemoth /Exodus 13:2, 12, 15)
24 and to give an offering according to what is said in the Torah of יהוה, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” (Wayyiqra/Leviticus 12:8)
-Notice that in verse 22 it says the Torah of Mosheh yet in the next two verses it is called the Torah of יהוה.
-Also, notice that in verses 23 & 24 it says “as it has been written” or “what is said” in the Torah of יהוה, yet those two laws are taken from Shemoth and Wayyiqra, and not anywhere in the Ten Commandments.
If those commands were taken from what we call the law of Mosheh, then why are they recognized as being from the Law of YHWH?
Did Y’Shua abolish the law?
It is true that He did away with some laws, particularly the ones dealing with our relationship to sin and YHWH’s judgment on it. In other words, the earthly sin sacrificial system - the temple, the priesthood, and the sin animal sacrifices. All of these, Y’Shua did away with because He is the temple (Yohanan/John 2:19-21), He is our High Priest (Ibrim/Hebrews 8:1-2), and He is the only sacrifice capable of taking our sins away (1 Corinthians 5:7; Ibrim/Hebrews 10:8-10). However, because He did away with those, this does not mean He did away with all of it. That would imply that we could throw out any part of The Scriptures that we don’t agree with.
Some will say that Y’Shua lived out the Law perfectly so that we don’t have to. Does that mean we don’t have to live out any of YHWH’s law (Torah)? That’s absurd! That’s like saying “He lived it perfectly, so I don’t have to worry about whether or not I commit adultery, disrespect my elders, or indulge in pornography.” That might seem a little harsh, but that’s essentially what one is saying if they take that road.
* Y’Shua perfectly lived out the Law because He is the only One capable of doing so - He is YHWH (Yohanan/John 8:58). YHWH wants us to know His standard for being set-apart. He is the only One who is truly Set-Apart. However, because He loves us, He wants us to follow His example and walk as He walked. To be instructed out of His laws gives us understanding of who He is and who we are as His creation.
*Y’Shua also lived by the Law, because if He didn’t He would be disqualified as the Messiah. No false prophet would go unnoticed if they broke any of the commandments. That’s why the religious leaders of Y’Shua’s day tried to trap Him by saying He broke the Law. He didn’t disobey YHWH’s commandments, but He broke their laws, their man made traditions! (Mattityahu /Matthew 16:11-12). They were trying to catch Him breaking the commandments so they could murder Him, because He challenged their traditions which they held at the same standard as YHWH’S law – The Torah (Mark 7:6-9)!
*Y’Shua lived the law out perfectly so that we wouldn’t be condemned by it any longer, if we’re in Him! “He condemned sin in the flesh so that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:3-4). He fulfilled the law so it could be written on our hearts and placed in our minds by the Spirit (Yirmeyahu /Jeremiah 31; Ezekiel 36:27). That’s the only way we can be transformed and renew our minds (Romans 12:1-2). Notice also that in Colossians 2:14 it says that YHWH ‘blotted out the certificate of debt against us that comes from breaking the Law, not the Law itself! This is very important to understand since the Law is against us as long as we are outside of Y’Shua’s atoning blood, but if we’re saved by Him, then His Law becomes our instruction toward His perfect will and our ‘good works’.
Y’Shua and the Law
Let’s examine some Scriptures that specifically touch on the relationship between Y’Shua and the Law.
15 “יהוה your Elohim shall raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brothers. Listen to Him,
16 according to all you asked of יהוה your Elohim in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of יהוה my Elohim, nor let me see this great fire any more, lest I die.’
17 “And יהוה said to me, ‘What they have spoken is good.
18 ‘I shall raise up for them a Prophet like you out of the midst of their brothers. And I shall put My Words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.
19 ‘And it shall be, the man who does not listen to My Words which He speaks in My Name, I require it of him.
48 “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My Words, has one who judges him: the Word that I have spoken shall judge him in the last day.
49 “Because I spoke not from Myself, but the Father who sent Me has given Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.
50 “And I know that His command is everlasting life.1 Therefore, whatever I speak, as the Father has said to Me, so I speak.”
Mattityahu /Matthew 5:17-19
17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to complete. (The Law and the Prophets is a term used for the pre-Messianic Scriptures. Indeed the Law and the Prophets without Messiah is incomplete.)
18 “For truly, I say to you, till the heaven and the earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall by no means pass from the Torah till all be done.
19 “Whoever, then, breaks one of the least of these commands, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the reign of the heavens; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the reign of the heavens.
-v.17-Some translations of the Scriptures have used the word’ fulfill’ in place of ‘complete’. The word fulfill in the Greek is pleroo- it means “to fulfill; make full; fill to the fullest.”
Y’Shua came to fully preach the Law and the Prophets!
Y’Shua not only fulfilled the Law and Prophets by embodying the prophecies about Him, but also by finishing YHWH’s work of redemption on the stake - His death for our sins. This does not destroy the meaning or importance of the Law and the Prophets which makes up nearly 2/3 of The Scriptures. All Scripture is still relevant and important to the life of the believer.
Y’Shua said that He didn’t come to destroy the Law but to fulfill/complete. That alone cancels out any argument that He abolished (destroyed) the law of Moshe or the ‘ceremonial law‘. So regardless of how we interpret the word “fulfill” it doesn’t change the fact that He didn’t destroy any of the word which He, Himself, spoke through Moshe and the Prophets.
He also said that until heaven and earth pass away not even the tiniest mark would disappear from the law. Since neither heaven nor earth have passed away yet (2 Peter 3:10-13; Revelation 21:1-6), I would say that the Law/Torah still stands.
*I have also heard it said that to ‘fulfill’ the Word is a rabbinical term used to recognise a correct interpretation, whereas to destroy the Word would be to provide an incorrect interpretation of Scripture.
“answered them and said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me יהושע
Y’Shua’s “teaching/instruction” was not His but the Father’s.
What was the Father’s “teachings or instructions“?
- The Law/Torah.
“If you love Me, you shall guard My commands”
When looking at the context of this and other passages, there is no valid argument for saying that Y’Shua was talking about a whole new set of commands. He was simply referring to the same set of commandments that He gave to the children of Yisra’ĕl at Mount Sinai.
“If you guard My commands, you shall stay in My love, even as I have guarded My Father’s commands and stay in His love”
The thought of Y’Shua abiding in the Father’s love as He kept His commandments is a strong example of what we should be doing. However, Y’Shua is not saying that we must keep the law to be saved. Rather, obedience is a natural result from true love for YHWH.
*(Also as already stated, Y’Shua did not give a bunch of new commands for us to keep, but the same ones that He heard and kept. Yohanan/John 8:26 “I have much to say and to judge concerning you. But He who sent Me is true, and what I heard from Him, these Words I speak to the world.”)
1 Yohanan/ John 2:3-7
3 And by this we know that we know Him, if we guard His commands.
4 The one who says, “I know Him,” and does not guard His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
5 But whoever guards His Word, truly the love of Elohim has been perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. The one who says he stays in Him ought himself also to walk, even as He walked.
6 The one who says he stays in Him ought himself also to walk, even as He walked.
7 Beloved, I write no fresh command to you, but an old command which you have had from the beginning. The old command is the Word which you heard from the beginning.
Verse 3 says that we know Him, if we keep His commands. Romans 2:18 says, “and know the desire of Elohim, and approve what is superior, being instructed out of the Torah”, To know YHWH is to know what He says about His desires for us, and His desire to see us walk in His Set-Apart ways.
Verse 6 says to “walk, even as He walked”. Given the context here, it is clear that we should follow Y’Shua’s example of how He lived while on earth which is to say that He lived out the law perfectly. We, ourselves, could never live the law perfectly, but we don’t have to because it’s not about being made righteous before YHWH by living the law. It’s about growing in our relationship with Him and separating ourselves from the world, through His loving instructions. YHWH’s law is all about love - love for Him and for others.
1 Yohanan/John 4:8-10
8 The one who does not love does not know Elohim, for Elohim is love.
9 By this the love of Elohim was manifested in us, that Elohim has sent His only brought-forth Son into the world, in order that we might live through Him.
10 In this is love, not that we loved Elohim, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be an atoning offering for our sins.
1 Yohanan/John 5:2-3
2 By this we know that we love the children of Elohim, when we love Elohim and guard His commands.
3 For this is the love for Elohim, that we guard His commands, and His commands are not heavy
Most will argue that obeying the law means you are in bondage of the law. I’ve said this a thousand times and I’ll probably say it a thousand more - no one is saved by keeping the law! The law can’t save us from sin because it wasn’t made to do that. However, it was made to point out what sin is and give us the standard by which YHWH judges sin. If we know that, then we know His will and can live according to His will for our lives. Living by the law, not under it, is not burdensome. Rather, it’s freedom when considering the words of the apostle Paul in Romans 6:15-18,
6:15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under Torah but under favour? Let it not be!
6:16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves servants for obedience, you are servants of the one whom you obey, whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness?
6:17 But thanks to Elohim that you were servants of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of teaching to which you were entrusted.
6:18 And having been set free from sin, you became servants of righteousness.
In most people’s minds, being a slave is a bad thing. And in most cases it is. However, when we are slaves to sin, we are slaves to our own flesh (sinful nature). But when we are freed from sin by our acceptance of Y’Shua’s sacrifice, we become slaves of righteousness meaning that we are “forced”, or rather caused, to do things against the will of the flesh. That’s a very good thing.
2 Yohanan/John 1:6
And this is the love, that we walk according to His commands.1 This is the command, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.
These are just a few Scriptures on YHWH’S law and they show the attitude of the authors toward His law.
1 Blessed is the man who shall not walk in the counsel of the wrong, And shall not stand in the path of sinners, And shall not sit in the seat of scoffers,
2 But his delight is in the Torah of יהוה, And he meditates in His Torah day and night.
3 For he shall be as a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That yields its fruit in its season, And whose leaf does not wither, And whatever he does prospers.
97 O how I love Your Torah! It is my study all day long.
98 Your commands make me wiser than my enemies; For it is ever before me.
113 I have hated doubting thoughts, But I have loved Your Torah.
114 You are my hiding place and my shield; I have waited for Your word.
115 Turn away from me, you evil-doers, For I observe the commands of my Elohim!
For the command is a lamp, And the Torah a light, And reproofs of discipline a way of life,
For I delight in the Torah of Elohim according to the inward man,
Why do people think that the law was abolished?
Many believe that the following passages of Scripture state that the law was done away with in Y’Shua.
“The Torah and the prophets are until Yohanan. Since then the reign of Elohim is being announced, and everyone is doing violence upon it.
-Notice the next verse, though,
“And it is easier for the heaven and the earth to pass away than for one tittle of the Torah to fall.
-Again this is the argument that the law will remain until heaven and earth pass away, which has not happened yet. Even though it’s easy for YHWH to make heaven and earth pass away, His Word will last forever.
Tehillim/Psalm 138:2 says “For You have made great Your Word, Your Name, above all.”
If YHWH has placed His Word in such a high position, then we should take notice. An interesting note - when the psalmist spoke of YHWH’s word in this psalm, he was speaking primarily of the Torah.
“Now then, why do you try Elohim by putting a yoke on the neck of the taught ones which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
The meaning of this verse is explained in light of the context of the entire chapter. Some Jews were saying that a person had to be circumcised and follow the Law to be saved - essentially that they had to become a Jew. However, we know that “no flesh shall be justified by the works of the law“. That doesn’t mean, however, that the law is dead or obsolete.
The law brings death because it is the perfect will of YHWH revealed, and we can never measure up to that standard. That is why we need Y’Shua to be the propitiation, or substitute, for our sins.
The yoke was an image used to describe how one performs the statutes and judgments of the law. The yoke of the law in relation to salvation is too heavy for us, but in Y’Shua, it is light because He has taken the curse of the law away from anyone who believes in Him.
“For My yoke is gentle and My burden is light.” Mattityahu /Matthew 11:30
having abolished in His flesh the enmity – the Torah of the commands in dogma – so as to create in Himself one renewed man from the two, thus making peace,
YHWH never said that Jews and Gentiles couldn’t worship Him together, however, YHWH made it a point to say that no foreigner could approach Him in the same way His people did. They had to come to an understanding of who YHWH was and enter a covenant relationship with Him first. In verses 11-13 of this same chapter, Sha’ul talks about how the Gentiles were foreigners from the “commonwealth of Yisra’ĕl and strangers from the covenants of promise,” meaning that they were not a part of YHWH’s family (not the Jewish nation, but the people of faith that YHWH had created beginning with Abraham). But through Y’Shua they who believe have been brought near to YHWH . In verse 14 it says He has “broken down the middle wall of separation“. This is probably referring to the separation in the Temple where there was a place specifically for Gentiles only - the court of the Gentiles. They could not enter in beyond that point. However, the Jews had made up a myriad of rules that were not in YHWH’s law. In fact, Leviticus 17:8-9 states that an Yisra’ĕlite and/or “the strangers” (Gentiles), could both offer burnt offerings and sacrifices. The Gentiles, though, had to enter the covenant that YHWH had established with His people. YHWH, through Messiah Y’Shua, had broken down the wall and allowed both Jew and Gentile to enter a covenant relationship with Him.
“friendship with the world is enmity with Elohim” James 4:4
Ibrim/Hebrews 7:18; 8:13; 10:1
All three of these passages deal with the fact that the earthly priesthood was insufficient to deal with sin because the priests were human, therefore they sinned just like everybody else. However, our Messiah Y’Shua is YHWH, so He is without sin and can thereby effectively deal with our sin by atoning for it and setting us free from it. Since Y’Shua came to earth in human form though, He can understand our struggles - “For we do not have a High Priest unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who was tried in all respects as we are, apart from sin.” Ibrim/Hebrews 4:15.
Our Messiah is our Great High Priest who lives to make intercession for us.
The Law did not become obsolete, nor did the First Covenant in the sense of it’s purpose. If you change even one part in a covenant, then that makes it a new covenant. Even though virtually everything else remains the same, that one new element makes the old covenant a new one.
This is essentially what has taken place. The Renewed Covenant is a better covenant with better promises because now it is fulfilled in that our Messiah is performing the priestly duties in heaven, ministering to us through the work of the Set-apart Spirit, and defending us in YHWH’s court room before the accuser, Satan.
Not Under Obligation
Throughout the New Testament, we see two major points that appear contradictory, but are nothing more than the sublime, almost-hidden aspect of the Renewed Covenant, seen throughout the New Testament as the mystery of the Kingdom, the mystery of His will, the mystery of Messiah, the mystery of the Faith.
Here is the mystery:
1) Under the New Covenant, as we saw in The New Covenant: According to the Scriptures, those who have been Born-Again have been set free, and are no longer under any obligation to keep, or to obey, the Law ("Torah" - all the Words of Scripture);
2) However, as we saw in The Way of Salvation, one will probably NOT enter the New Jerusalem (the closed-in realm of the Kingdom) without obedience to the Law ("Torah")!
The above items together appear to be contradictory, but they simply reveal one of the many "mysteries" mentioned throughout the New Testament. Sha’ul explained this extensively in many passages, and used multiple examples to reveal this truth.
Here is a brief explanation of this mystery. At the moment the Blood of Yahushua has Redeemed or set one free from the slavery of sin, man is set free to choose his new master, and to choose a new yoke. He has been set free from the old master, and therefore he is NOT to be forced or obligated to go back under the old master – which would be a violation of Torah (Exodus 21:2; Leviticus 25:39; Jeremiah 34:14-16). He may, however, choose to volunteer to serve the Master whom he loves, and so he may take a "new" yoke upon himself. Some of the Apostle Sha’ul's writings, as well as the Words of Yahushua, are in regard to this Torah truth.
The apostle Sha’ul wrote extensively on this exchange of yokes, and he revealed this mystery in his own life, in one short verse (1Cor 9:21). The Reader is referred to several articles (New Covenant Liberty: Freedom to Choose) and the ones mentioned above, that deal a little more with this exchange of yokes, and of being set free, in order to choose a new Master.
In view of the importance of our obedience to Torah, but also the lack of "requirement" to keep or obey the Torah, it is imperative that we present and teach this Truth: that we are NOT justified by obeying the Torah, and therefore we are NOT "required" to obey the Torah. However, we who choose to return to the New Master, and to take His yoke upon us, DO obey the Torah, only because of our Love for, and Delight in, the Master. Rather, we allow the New Master, "Messiah-in-us" (Colossians 1:27), who is our only hope of Glory, to provide His Favour – His ability within us – to walk in all His Torah, as He reveals it to us.
Yahushua does NOT require anyone to take His yoke upon him. All are encouraged to though willingly. Our hearers must develop their own Love for the new Master, which can NOT happen where obligation exists.
If a Teacher gives the Truth of Scripture, along with the idea that one MUST obey Torah, that Teacher has required obedience as an obligation – and thus that Teacher himself is in violation of Torah! That Teacher is in error, just as the Teacher who says obedience to Torah is not important under the Renewed Covenant! One must seek to observe Torah out of love for the Master - Yahushua.
b) Charis - In the Hebrew of the Old Testament we find a very common word Chen, which simply means: favour. This word Chen was correctly rendered "favour" in the Old Testament of the American translations (American Standard Version, New American Standard Bible, Smith-Goodspeed Translation, Rotherham Version, New International Version, New World Translation), as well as in the English Ferrar Fenton Translation and New English bible. However, when this same word is used in the Greek of the New Testament, we find the word charis. This word was also known as grace, better known in its Latin form gratia.
From the English word "grace", "charismatic" and "charity" have come to us. Why was the generally accepted rendering "favour" (unmerited favour) not extended into the New Testament as well? The New Testament is based on the Old Testament is it not? The New Testament is but a continuation of the Old Testament. Its authors were Hebrews, they spoke Aramaic and or Hebrew, just like the authors of the Old Testament. Why then was a foreign word introduced which was unashamedly adopted from (or identified with) the name of a female deity? Yes, any dictionary or encyclopedia will verify this. This Greek deity's name, Charis, is found in the Greek New Testament, no less than 127 times, translated as "grace" in the English translations instead of "favour", as it should have been, and as has correctly been done, indeed, in 6 places in the King James Version's New Testament, namely, Luke 1:30, Luke 2:52, Acts 2:47, Acts 7:10, Acts 7:46, and Acts 25:3. Who was this Charis? She was the wife of Hephaistos the fire-deity.221 She is identified with Aphrodite, both being names for the glistening dawn similar to the Sanskrit Ushas,221 the Dawn deity of the Indians, similar to the Greek Eos and daughter of Zeus and Here.222 In the plural form, Charites, we find the commonly known "Three Charites" or "Three Graces", three pretty young female deities, either stark naked or else very scantily dressed,223 being the three daughters of Helios, the Sun-deity.223
I for one will never be able to use the word ‘grace’ the same way. How many of us have boldy stated that we are saved by 'grace' - what are we saying, that we are saved by a Greek goddess. YHWH please forgive our ignorance. Favour on the other hand is the true gift from The Creator. YHWH showed favour to, amongst others, Noah, Abraham and a nation of people, and through this very same favour has shown mercy to all of mankind ever since, through His Son Y’Shua Ha Mashiach.
For by favour you have been saved, through belief, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of Elohim,it is not by works, so that no one should boast.
For we are His workmanship, created in Messiah יהושע unto good works, which Elohim prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
“Let your light so shine before men, so that they see your good works and praise your Father who is in the heavens.
If we are filled with His favour then we are strengthened by the Set-apart Spirit for "obedience to the faith" as Sha’ul says in Romans. So if our faith is real, then works will follow and proclaim the reality of our faith, all by the power of His favour.
Some other passages to ponder on:
1 Yohanan/John 2:4 The one who says, “I know Him,” and does not guard His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
Mattityahu/Matthew 7:13 “Enter in through the narrow gate! Because the gate is wide – and the way is broad – that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter in through it.
Mattityahu/Matthew 7:14 “Because the gate is narrow and the way is hard pressed which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Luke 13:24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, because many, I say to you, shall seek to enter in and shall not be able.
Mattityahu/Matthew 22:14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.
There are two main purposes to the Torah/Law.
1. To lead one to Messiah Y’Shua
2. To reveal YHWH’s Set-apart nature and His instruction for our Set-apart living.
Wayyiqra/Lev 20:26 ‘And you shall be set-apart to Me, for I יהוה am set-apart, and have separated you from the peoples to be Mine.
Many would view the subject matter which we have discussed as legalism.
The dictionary defines legalism as: "strict, literal adherence to the law, or to a particular code, as of religion or morality." Quote: "Legalism relates to principals of right and wrong behavior."
The question then arises: Is being categorized as legalistic an insult or a compliment?
Let me close off with Proverbs 28:9
He who turns away his ear from hearing the Torah, Even his prayer is an abomination.
Scripture portions taken from ‘The Scriptures’, Copyright by Institute for Scripture Research. Used by permission