Sunday, October 14, 2007

Quote of the Week

To be a Christian is to have Christ the life of our minds, our hearts, our wills, so that it is Christ thinking through us, loving through us, willing through us. It is increasingly to have no life but the life of Christ within us filling us with ever increasing measure.

Ruth Paxson

16 comments:

Aharon HaLevi said...

But what is Christ? Christ is the Law!

Daelon said...

Love your posts, Gary. Keep inspiring people to live in the love of God. =)

Gary Kirkham said...

Aharon,

That is an interesting concept. If I understand you correctly you are saying that since it says in John chapter one, that Christ is the Word, therefore Christ is the Law. To do this you have to make the logical inference that the Word is the Law and nothing but the Law, or can you quote some scripture that makes this linkage explicit? God has spoken many words, words of prophesy, words of condemnation, words or encouragement and He spoke the Law. Not all of what God has said is codified into the 600+ commandments that make up the Law. When John wrote that the Word was God, does that mean that the Law is to be worshipped as God? This is really quite confusing so I suspect that I don’t have the whole picture or I am misinterpreting something. What would happen if we did some simple word substitutions? Christ = Law

Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to Christ through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by Christ, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from Christ, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. Romans 7:4-6


I don’t know, to me that just does not make any sense. How about this?


God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in the Law, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. Hebrews 1:1-2


The Law (Christ?) was given through the prophet Moses, why make the distinction of saying that God is now speaking to us in Christ?


For 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 (keeping the Law), so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9


What does this mean? Saved from what, by faith in what? Would your interpretation be, “Saved, not by keeping the Law, but by grace through faith in the Law?”

Gary

Aharon HaLevi said...

In Hebrews chapter 11 -- the "Faith Hall of Fame" as some have called it, we find three interesting names from the Tanakh ("Old Testament") -- Moses, David and Samuel. The book of Hebrews says they were saved by faith, even though they were well known for following the Torah.

In writing Psalm 119, David can't say enough about following the Torah. But, according to Christian theology, there is a dilemma with regard to what he writes.

David writes the following about himself:

Psalm 119:22 -- "Take away from me reproach and contempt, for I have kept your testimonies."
Psalm 119:51 -- "... yet have I not declined in my interest or turned aside from your Law."
Psalm 119:56 -- "I have kept your precepts ..."
Psalm 119:102 -- "I have not turned aside from your ordinances ..."
Psalm 119:121 -- "I have done justice and righteousness ..."

Is this the same David that committed adultery with Bathsheba and had Uriah murdered? Not to mention a number of other documented violations of the Torah. According to Christian theology, David is clearly a liar. How can he claim to have followed "the Law," when we all know how he broke it in some terrible ways? To add to the "confusion," God Himself calls David, "a man after His own heart." (1 Samuel 13:14)

So is David a liar? Perhaps God is making an "exception" for him?

There is a hint of the answer found in Psalm 119 itself:

Psalm 119:159 -- "Consider how I love your precepts; revive me and give life to me, O Lord, according to your loving kindness."

The term "loving kindness" is hesed in Hebrew, and is the equivalent of the word grace in the "New Testament." David knew he was saved by God's grace -- NOT by keeping all the commandments perfectly, but rather by what he says at the beginning of the verse; "Consider how I love your precepts ..."

An interesting question to ask is, "Why does God save us?" The typical reply might be, "So we won't go to hell." That may be true, but it's an incomplete answer. In fact, God saves us so that we can perform the commandments (mitzvot) of His Torah in this lifetime. Our performing God's mitzvot is part of His desire to return us back into a correct relationship, the purpose and intent of mankind, as first seen in the Garden of Eden (Gan Eden).

(Taking it a step further, one could ask, why did Yeshua say, "we would always have the poor?" (Matthew 26:11) Part of the answer is so that we would be able to perform the mitzvot of charity!) (9)

Psalm 119 shows David asking to be saved so that he could then follow God's Torah. God judged David on his faith AND desire to follow the Torah, NOT on his ability to keep every point of it. No one has ever been "saved" by their ability to keep Torah, nor has that ever been an option for salvation.

The idea that Torah-based Judaism taught that anyone was ever saved by works is false. Throughout the ages there have indeed been those in Judaism who have taught incorrectly. The behavior of specific individuals or groups does not change what Torah-based Judaism has always taught. Even the error of the Jewish leaders at the time of Yeshua does not make Christianity, or any other religion correct. (Let God be true but every man be a liar -- Romans 3:4.) The only thing that is "right," is what God Himself established.

Faith and desire to follow His Torah are inseparable according to God.

Why is this so?

1. God says what He wants from us ... to fear Him, walk in His ways, to love Him and to serve Him with all your heart and soul (Deuteronomy 10:12) -- "His ways" were given in the Torah.
2. However, you cannot walk in His ways (follow the Torah) without faith (Hebrews 10:38)

Daelon said...

Aharon,

We wanted to follow the law too! How do you think we came to grace?

Joel Brueseke said...

David wasn't a liar. He was simply wrong. :) He had not kept the Law. He had not kept God's precepts. The words of the prophet Isaiah were just as true about David as they were about anyone else. "There is no one good, no not one. There is no one who seeks after God." Etc, etc, etc.

David did understand the mercy and grace of God to an extent. He knew about God's loving-kindness and grace. But what he didn't understand was that God's love and grace had nothing to do with his law-keeping.

Saul the Pharisee made similar claims to that of David. He considered himself zealous for God and blameless in his righteousness according to the Law. I'm sure he understood the words that David used in regards to God's grace and mercy far more than we understand it today! He had studied the Torah all his life, and the meaning and intent of all of David's words were very clear to him.

But Jesus appeared to him and revealed things to him that he had never seen before, and that even David had never understood. He had to die to the Law in order to truly be in union with God. In the end he realized that the Law was a strict schoolmaster that really only showed his unredeemed self just how dirty and rotten and sinful he really was, even if he thought his zeal and righteousness were pleasing to God.

Christ doesn't enable us to keep the Law. Christ fulfilled the Law, and the Law is fulfilled in us by His life that is in us. As we grow in our understanding of our new identity in Him, the good deeds that God works in and through us will come naturally, and not through striving to keep the Law. The fruit that is produced in us... love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control... are a fruit of the Spirit working in and through us as we simply abide (rest)in this Person, Jesus. This fruit will never be against the Law. But again, it doesn't come through KEEPING the Law!

If Christ enables you to keep the Law, then I'm sure that you LOVE God with ALL your heart, with ALL your soul, with ALL your mind and with All your strength... right? That IS what the commandment says. And not only that, but the commandment says that you shall LOVE your neighbor (which includes EVERYBODY - not just your friends, but your enemies too) AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF. If you really do love your neighbor AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF, then you will do more than just feed the poor. You will sell all you have and distribute all the proceeds to the poor.

If you fall short in any way, you have failed completely as a law-keeper.

Thank God that life in Christ is not about keeping the Law!

Bino B. Manjasseril said...

Christ is the law?

I thought Christ is the end of the law! (Romans 10:4)

Joel Brueseke said...

Oh... the irony! I inadvertently quoted the prophet Isaiah as saying there is no one who does good, no not one.

It was actually DAVID himself who said that! (Psalm 14)

Aharon HaLevi said...

"David wasn't a liar. He was simply wrong. :) He had not kept the Law. He had not kept God's precepts."

Psalm 119:22 -- "Take away from me reproach and contempt, for I have kept your testimonies."
Psalm 119:51 -- "... yet have I not declined in my interest or turned aside from your Law."
Psalm 119:56 -- "I have kept your precepts ..."
Psalm 119:102 -- "I have not turned aside from your ordinances ..."
Psalm 119:121 -- "I have done justice and righteousness ..."

So he was a liar, according to you, Joel.

If we don't strive to keep the commandments of God, we are walking away from Yeshua and down a path of destruction. 1 John 3:4-6.

YES! The Torah is the Word of YHVH! "If you love me, keep my commands". Yeshua directly quotes his Father YHVH here. The Torah of Yeshua is the Torah of YHVH. If it weren't so, Yeshua would not be Moshiach.

Let's take a look at some Scriptures.

Gal. 2:16 "even so, we have come to realize that a person is not declared righteous on the ground of legalistic observance of Torah (term there is ma'asei haTorah and is a reference to oral law/Talmud/Rabbinic tradition - legalistic man-made observances of Torah, not Torah itself), but through the Messiah Yeshua's trusting faithfulness. Therefore, we too have put our trust in Messiah Yeshua and become faithful (cannot be faithful without doing anything) to him, in order that we might be declared righteous on the ground of Messiah's trusting faithfulness and not on the ground of legalistic observance of Torah commands. For on the ground of legalistic observance of Torah commands, no one will be declared righteous."

You do not understand the context, both religious and historical, of Shaul's writings. Galatians is especially tricky, you have to know what he's talking about.
This helps greatly.

From this, it is obvious we are not righteous by observing any laws of men. Legalism can never be applied to God's Instruction. If you seek God on this, and the right spirit speaks to you, you will know this to be true.

So, maybe you still aren't convinced. The details to Galatians are in that link. But if you want to get away from all misunderstandings and twisted Scriptures of Shaul's writing, let's look at a blatantly clear verse from Shaul that could only mean one thing:

Acts 24:14 "But this I do admit to you: I worship the God of our fathers in accordance with the Way (which they call a sect). I continue to believe everything that accords with the Torah and everything written in the prophets."
or what about:
Romans 3:31 "Does it follow that we abolish Torah by this trusting? Heaven forbid! On the contrary we confirm the Torah."

Now what about what Yeshua said?
Matt. 5:17-19
"Don't think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish but to fulfill. (i.e. make full of meaning, a glass is not empty and null when it is full of water; same thing applies here)
Yes indeed! I tell you that until Heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a jot or a stroke of the pen shall pass away from the Torah - not until everything must happen has happened. (are Heaven and earth still here? of course!)
Whoever disobeys the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever obeys them and teaches others to do so will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven."

Let's be real here! There's only one possibility. Let's not be fools and twist Scripture - that is witchcraft.

More of Yeshua's words. Be convicted by them.

Matt. 7:22-23
"On that Day, many will say to me 'Lord, Lord! Didn't we prophesy in your name? Didn't we cast demons out in your name? Didn't we perform many miracles in your name?'
Then I will tell them to their faces, 'I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!'"

Now, your Bible might have another word for 'lawlessness' there in hopes of turning people away from Torah. So let's look at the Greek word and see what it means.
The word there in Greek is 'anomia'. The prefix 'a-' means without or lacking. The root word 'nomia'/'nomos' means law, or instruction. In fact, it is the SAME WORD used in the Greek Septuagint for the very word Torah.

It is very clear what he means here.
See, the Spirit NEVER goes against the Word. If the spirit speaks something contrary to Torah, it is NOT the Spirit. If Yeshua came against Torah, he would not be Mashiach. I assure you Yeshua IS Mashiach!

In chapter 7, Yeshua goes on about the wise man who built his house on the rock and the foolish man who built his house on the sand. Upon this textual context, it is clear what Yeshua is speaking about. It is the Torah.

One more verse.
1 John 3:4-6
"Everyone who keeps sinning is violating Torah - indeed, sin is a violation of Torah. You know that he (Yeshua) came to take away sins and that there is no sin in him. So no one who remains united with him continues sinning; everyone who does continue sinning has neither seen him or known him."

I would not want to be one to remain in Torahlessness."

Shalom,
Aharon HaLevi

Joel Brueseke said...

Again, I'm not calling David a liar. He thought he was correct in what he was saying. But he was wrong. In fact, he was sort of mixed up himself... he said there is no one who does good, no not one, and yet he said he had kept the law. Interesting. ;) Anyway, Paul quoted these words of David in making his his case that the purpose of the Law is to stop mouths and make the world GUILTY.

David hadn't received the revelations that Paul would later receive. And that's ok... those revelations came in their proper time.

You refer to witchcraft... which is really in effect when a person has died to the law and yet tries to live by it.

Judah Himango said...

Christ is not the end of the Law; Christ himself said so.

My understanding is, in Romans, most Bibles have "Christ is the goal of the Law", which is what the Greek actually states. Other Bibles say "end", but then have a footnote saying "or, 'goal'".

Anyways, it doesn't matter much. Messiah himself said he isn't ending the Law, and anything Paul says must be validated against that.

Aharon HaLevi said...

Good post Judah, short and sweet.


Joel, you said quite a few outstanding things.

One of the things you said:

"Again, I'm not calling David a liar. He thought he was correct in what he was saying. But he was wrong. In fact, he was sort of mixed up himself... he said there is no one who does good, no not one, and yet he said he had kept the law."

No one is justified by his Torah observance, because we will all fail. We are saved by faith, just as the Israelites were saved by faith from Egypt (Mitzrayim, meaning bondage).

You see, bondage comes from being under sin. Sin is defined as transgression of Torah! 1 John 3:4-6.

We are saved from bondage by the blood of Yeshua. If we continually sin - we are trampling the blood.

An example: if you eat pork on a regular basis, don't recognize it, and continue doing it - you are sinning. Plain, simple, and the truth. According to the "New Testament" itself in various places.

Understand your "New Testament" through the lens and and acceptance of Torah, otherwise you will twist the words to your own destruction, as Kefa (Peter) explained people do to Shaul's (Paul's) words.

Joel Brueseke said...

Jesus couldn't abolish the law. The law was given by God to stop mouths, to condemn the world, to make everyone guilty and to impute sin to all of mankind. If Jesus had abolished the law, He would have taken away the very purpose of the law.

Instead, He fulfilled it. By abiding in the Father and the Father in Him, and by watching the Father and doing what the Father was doing, Jesus kept the law and remained without sin.

The Father was pleased with Jesus, because Jesus was without spot or blemish. So Jesus became the perfect sacrifice. The problem with the law is that it could make no one perfect. The blood of bulls and goats only provided for a reminder of sin.

So... God MADE HIM WHO KNEW NO SIN TO BE SIN FOR US SO THAT WE MIGHT BECOME THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN HIM.

After Jesus fulfilled the law, and had remained spotless and without blemish, God put Him up on the cross and poured out His wrath on Jesus for the sin of mankind. All was fulfilled. The Law had served its purpose (stopping mouths, making the world guilty), and the Spotless Lamb had done what He had come to do... to become sin for us so that we might become God's righteousness.

Since all was fulfilled in Christ, the Law then became obsolete (Heb 8:13). The Greek word is "palaioo." It literally means "to declare obsolete." Hebrews 8:13 says, "that which is 'palaioo' (obsolete) and 'gerasko' (growing old, aging) is ready to 'aphanismos' (vanish away, disappear).

Why? Because our new Priest "is Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises."

Indeed Christ is the 'telos' of the Law for righteousness. Christ is the "point aimed at." He is the "conclusion of an act or state." He is the "result."

Paul made it explicitly clear what the purpose of the Law was! It was a tutor (schoolmaster) to lead people TO Christ (Christ is the goal, purpose, point aimed at... He is the "end" of the Law. Once a person has come to this "end," or has come to this point, he dies to the law and is no longer under this tutor. The tutor HAS ACCOMPLISHED ITS GOAL.

INDEED, if we look at the Torah through the lens of the New Covenant... which is what Paul had to do in order to understand all of the above... then we will understand why it is obsolete, and growing old and vanishing away...

Gary Kirkham said...

Aharon,

Are you saying that David (and all Old Testament saints) was saved in part, because he loved the Law? I love the Law; it's what brought me to Christ. How perfectly do you have to love it? That sounds like a work to me. If I loved it perfectly I would keep it perfectly. David obviously didn't love it perfectly because he didn't keep it perfectly. Where is the cutoff? No, the bible is very clear we are saved by faith and faith alone...even David. Through the forbearance (postponement of payment) of God (Romans 3:24-25) David was saved by the gift of grace through the blood of Jesus Christ by faith.

Matthew,
Thanks for the kind encouragement.

Judah,
The Greek word is telos. It means an end, a termination, whether of time or purpose. Even if you use the meaning of goal, why would you continue to seek the goal once you have arrived at the goal?

Joel,
Thank you for adding your insights.

Gary

Aharon HaLevi said...

Gary, you said:

"Aharon,

Are you saying that David (and all Old Testament saints) was saved in part, because he loved the Law? I love the Law; it's what brought me to Christ. How perfectly do you have to love it? That sounds like a work to me."

Faith without works is dead, and likewise the other way. In fact, in Hebrew, faith is a verb. It's better translated into English as trusting. "If you love me keep my commands." How much more do you need here? We love the Father, and Yeshua as they are one, and we keep the Torah of them both. We they word is "keep". This doesn't mean we have to not mess up even once - this means we have to keep the Torah - to not throw any part of it out (until Heaven and earth pass away and everything in the universe is accomplished, not the smallest part of the Torah will pass away, Matthew 5:17-19) and to strive to keep the commandments.

The purpose of Yeshua's blood is to free us of the spiritual bondage of sin/breaking Torah so that we CAN serve him better. He desires that we serve him to the best of our abilities.

Why is there so much paganism in Christianity? God's people are to be set-apart "as I AM set-apart". When Christianity goes out and celebrates horribly pagan holidays and customs like the sunday "sabbath", Christmas, Easter (which is the very name of the pagan goddess of fertility). This is not set-apart! This is JUST LIKE the nations! This is paganism!

You said:
"If I loved it perfectly I would keep it perfectly. David obviously didn't love it perfectly because he didn't keep it perfectly."

Where do you get this reasoning from!? If you love it, you will strive to keep it and learn the many deep layers of understanding to Torah that Yeshua taught his talmidim/disciples.

Look at the writings of Yochanan/John. They are filled with the rich knowledge of Torah that many Rabbis have discovered in the Talmud and Zohar. If you don't love the Torah and keep it, you don't love Yeshua and YHVH/God - "if you love me KEEP MY COMMANDS."

You said:
"Where is the cutoff? No, the bible is very clear we are saved by faith and faith alone...even David."

ABSOLUTELY. I agree with you. This is what I have been saying. No one has ever been saved by Torah observance ALONE. Nor "faith" ALONE. Because you can't have one fully without the other. You can't have faith and continue sinning/breaking Torah. You can't have works when you have not faith, then that's pointless.

David KNEW he was saved by faith, and that's why he loved and kept Torah - he loved and kept YHVH!

You said:
"Through the forbearance (postponement of payment) of God (Romans 3:24-25) David was saved by the gift of grace through the blood of Jesus Christ by faith."

And this is true. We see Yeshua ALL OVER Torah. And even those who did not know him, because he hadn't come yet, DID know him, because he is the Torah incarnate - he is YHVH.

Adam knew Yeshua when he ate from the Tree of Life.
Avraham knew Yeshua when YHVH provided for him the ram with its head caught in the thorns.
Jacob knew Yeshua when he saw the ladder.

The list goes on.
The point being - Yeshua is YHVH. He is revealed in the Torah, he is the Torah. These three things are unified. As the Torah was given to Israel on Shavuot/Pentacost, so was the Spirit given to Israel on Shavuot/Pentacost. You cannot have one fully without the other.

A majority of Jews don't see Yeshua, even though it is right in front of them in the Torah.
A majority of Christians don't see Torah, even though it is right in front of them in Yeshua.

Why are the two separate? Because neither of the two is better than the other - we both err in different ways and are at odds at each other.

Judaism is the true religion of God's only people, Israel, although different forms of Judaism have taught certain false things. Christianity should not be separate from Judaism. There should be one united people - Israel. Jew united with returned Gentile.

Rabbi Shaul teaches what retunring Goyim/Gentiles should do, in Acts 15:19-21
"Therefore, my opinion is that we should not put obstacles in the way of the goyim returning to God. Instead, we should write them a letter telling them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from fornication, from what is strangled and from blood. For from the earliest times, Moshe (Torah) had in every city those who proclaim him, with his words being read in the synagogues every Shabbat."

It is my desire to be united with you. And as a Jew who understands Yeshua from Torah, I'm askign you to embrace Torah and understand your Messiah. Because he is our Messiah and we should be unified in him as he is unified in the Elohim.

Gary Kirkham said...

Aharon,

You say that you have a desire to be united with me, but what you fail to understand is that you are already united with me in Christ. We both are accepted in the beloved by faith in Christ. He has accepted us not based on any goodness within us or by working to obtain it; it is simply by His grace through faith. However, your acceptance of me seems to be based on my coming up to your standard, by my desire or ability to keep a certain percentage of the Law. Is that what Christ had in mind for His children?

But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off (the Gentiles) have been brought near by the blood of Christ (not by works). For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 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, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY that is the Gentiles), AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR (that is the Jew); for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift.

Whether we are willing to admit it or not, it seems that we have had an agenda in visiting each others blogs. I come to Judah's blog to preach grace and you and Judah come here to preach the Law. The way we write to each other it would seem that in my mind you are Pharisees who need to hear the message of grace and in your minds I am a heathen who lives my life in one big immoral free-for-all.

I suspect that we both know that the truth about each of us is somewhere in the middle, but we haven't met in the middle with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

I love God and I believe you do as well. Do you believe that God is big enough to take each of us where He wants to us go? Do you believe that He has the power to change hearts and change minds? The same God that brought Jonah to Nineveh and Paul to Damascus can bring us together in love and acceptance. Don't you think?

Gary