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    Joyfully Growing In Grace engages in an examination of beliefs found in the Hebrew Roots Movement, Messianic Judaism, and Netzarim streams of thought and related sects.

    The term “Messianic” is generally understood to describe Jews who have come to believe in Yeshua/Jesus as their Messiah. Jews who are believers in Jesus/Yeshua typically call themselves Jewish/Hebrew Christians or simply, Christians.

    Many Christians meet folks who say they are ‘Messianic’ and assume that those folks are Jewish Christians. Most aren’t Jewish at all, but are Gentile Christians who have chosen to pursue Torah observance and have adopted the Messianic term, calling themselves Messianic Christians, adherents to Messianic Judaism, or simply, Messianics. Some will even try to avoid that label and say that they are followers of "The Way".

    These Gentiles (and to be fair, some Messianic Jews) preach Torah observance/pursuance for Christians, persuading many believers that the Christianity of the Bible is a false religion and that we must return to the faith of the first century sect of Judaism that they say Yeshua (Jesus Christ) embraced. According to them, once you become aware that you should be 'keeping' the edicts and regulations of Mosaic Covenant Law, if you do not, you are then in willful disobedience to God.

    It has been my observation that Christians who adopt the label of Messianic identify more with the tenets of Judaism than they do with the tenets of Christianity. Many reject the label of Christian altogether and some eventually even convert to Judaism.

    1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 says, "But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil."

    Joyfully Growing in Grace examines the methods, claims, and fruits of the Hebrew Roots Movement, Messianic Judaism, and Netzarim streams of thought and related, law-keeping sects.

    To borrow from a Forest Gump quote, “Law ‘keepers’ are like a box of chocolates - ya never know what you’re gonna get!” The goal of JGIG is to be a resource to help those affected by the Torah pursuant movements to try and sort out what they’re dealing with. Make use of the tabs with drop-down menus found at the top of this site – there’s tons of info there, and it’s very navigable.

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    Welcome, and may God grant you wisdom and discernment as you consider all of these things.

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The Spring Feasts of God – Crumbs in Your Peanut Butter

Last year around this time I read a comment on a Law-keeping forum about preparing for the Spring Feasts.  Regarding getting the leaven out opeanut-butterf their homes, it seems that in addition to removing obvious leaven from the home (yeast, baking powder, baking soda, all fermenting/leavening agents along with all leavened breads and any food products containing leaven including frozen and canned products, condiments, etc.), it’s also important to get rid of any peanut butter and jelly, as crumbs from leavened bread can get transferred into the containers by one’s knife. Another person posted how they should probably get rid of their mayo, too, ‘just in case’.

One does have to wonder, in case WHAT?!

What great calamity will happen to the one in Christ if there are crumbs in their mayonnaise jar during the Spring Feasts? Leaven is a symbol of sin, not sin itself.  Even then, after the work of Christ, this is what God has to say:

2 Corinthians 5:17-19
17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:  The old has gone, the new is here!  18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.

In Christ, this is how we are to celebrate, understanding that >> we << can never get every speck of leaven (representing sin) out of our lives:

1 Corinthians 5:6-8
6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeastas you really are.  For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival,  not with the old yeast,  the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.

Folks, this season of remembrance is not about >> US << getting sin (leaven) out of our lives and going through the object lesson that Israel did every year, it’s about
>>> JESUS <<< and how HE has already CLEANSED those in Christ from our sins and about remembering, in the bread and the wine, HIM and what HE has already DONE.

We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus! (2 Cor. 5:21) We are not to dwell on sin, we are to dwell on the Gift of Righteousness we have in Christ:

Romans 5:17
17For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.

righteous11

If you want to do the object lessons of the Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits to learn how God designed His Law and its shadows to perfectly point to Christ, that’s fine. But to attempt to observe the Old Covenant,  as those without Christ did - year after year – after Christ has already fulfilled those shadows and commanded us to remember HIS Body - broken for us - and HIS Blood - shed for us - in the bread and the wine . . .

Let me put it this way:

God does not care about the crumbs in your peanut butter, jelly or mayo jars.  He just doesn’t.  He cares about the condition of your heart and whether or not you are in Christ:

1 John 3:23-24
23And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

The Law ‘keeper’ is constantly working to get the leaven (sin) out, by observing this day or avoiding that food or wearing fringes on their clothes, when Jesus said, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6, reiterated in 1 John 3 above) and then went on to state how HE is the Bread from heaven, and HE is the Living Water.  Jesus then goes about systematically replacing elements found in the Old Testament and the Law with HIMSELF.  Many left Him after that (John 6:66).

We are to partake in HIM.  Remember HIM.  We are not to strive as those without Christ did by observing ritual and regulation in Feast observances, but to remember what Christ HAS ALREADY DONE!  “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me . . . This cup is the New Covenant in My Blood, poured out for you.” (From Luke 22)

Romans 7:4-6
4So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.  5For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death.  6But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

2 Corinthians 3:4-6
4Such confidence we have through Christ before God.  5Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.  6He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

calvin-hobbes-spirit-of-the-law

I’ve heard it said that as soon as a law is given, mankind starts looking for loopholes.  In Christ, we don’t have to look for loopholes, because we are not under law.  We can walk in the newness of the life that we have in Christ (Romans 6:4), led by the Spirit He gave us (Ephesians 1, Galatians 5), walking not in Law and bearing its fruit (sin, death, fruit unto death Romans 7:5, 7-8, 9-11), but walking in His Spirit, bearing His Fruit (love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control Galatians 5).

We often hear from those in Law-keeping camps, “Choose ye this day Whom you will serve!” and “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (YHWH)!” (Joshua 24:15)

In the New Covenant, walking in His Spirit is the way to serve God.  Those in Christ are led by His Spirit; we are no longer under Law.  In a very practical sense, that means that we can spend more time actively loving others and sharing the Grace of God in the Gospel with them instead of spending time inspecting our peanut butter jars.

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For more resources regarding the Hebrew Roots/Messianic movements see the Post Index and the Articles Page.  General study helps, discernment, and apologetics sites can be found HERE.  Studies specific to New Covenant and foundational issues can be found HERE and HERE .   Other articles of interest:

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27 Responses

  1. Love it! So true!

  2. ::::sigh:::: True, Yeshua died for the forgiveness of sins, and we have been cleansed from our sins by faith in Him. But have we already been perfected, or do we still sin? And if we sin, do we not still need to introspect on the sin in our lives? To search out the dark corners where we don’t want other people to look and see, and get that sin out, out, out? We are not like the gnostics who prized the spiritual and disregarded the physical needs of mankind. God gives his people physical reminders of spiritual realities, because He knows His people are not just spirit, but physical beings as well.

    • Not that everyone is in this category, but if someone is agonizing over peanut butter and mayo, I think the physical symbol has overshadowed the spiritual reality. Just my take on it… having been there done that.

    • Rob wrote, “But have we already been perfected, or do we still sin?”

      The answer is yes =o). But what do the Scriptures say regarding our position in spite of our condition?

      Hebrews 10:9-13
      9Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

      11And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

      Rob also wrote, “And if we sin, do we not still need to introspect on the sin in our lives? To search out the dark corners where we don’t want other people to look and see, and get that sin out, out, out?”

      Rob, where are we taught to do that in the New Covenant? Are we taught to focus on sin sin sin or on who Jesus is and the righteousness we have in Christ? Grace and the Spirit teach us to say no to ungodliness and how to live uprightly, not self-examination and introspection. When are we told to examine ourselves? To see if we are in the faith:

      2 Corinthians 13:5-10
      5Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? 6And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. 7Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong—not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. 8For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is that you may be fully restored. 10This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority—the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.

      There is encouragement there to walk in Christ – Paul never puts the Law on the Corinthians, who walk in some notorious sins!

      Gnosticism is not a part of the equation; the example of Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians shows us here:

      1 Corinthians 6:12-20
      12“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 13You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 15Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” 17But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

      18Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

      Note that Paul does not put the Law on them, nor does he caution them that they are in danger of judgement for their sin, but reminds them who they are in Christ. In Christ, we do not fear judgement – we were bought with a price – but we should understand that there are natural consequences to sin in this life. That is hardly the Gnostic view.

  3. And the Feast of unleavened bread isn’t just about searching our hearts and cleaning out the leaven — unleavened bread itself represents Yeshua’s body which was broken on the cross. So we have a 7 day feast in which we are thinking about Jesus, and his death for us — and then his resurrection, which Paul ties to the day of First Fruits (1 Cor. 15:20-23).

    Which is why, a number of years ago, I decided to trade out easter bunnies, and easter eggs, and all of the other man-made trappings and traditions that have been handed down to us over the centuries — and crowded out God’s instructions for his people, which he told them to abide by “forever” and “throughout their generations” (Ex.12:14, 17).

    • Rob, if you find joy in celebrating the object lesson that the Feasts provide, then go for it! It is not ‘keeping’ or ‘observing’ the Law as it was given to Israel, however.

      The shadows of the Feasts pointed to a Work yet to come; Jesus came and did that Work – fulfilled the shadows. He instituted a new Feast of Remembrance in the bread and the wine. I prefer to look at the Finished Work and celebrate the Crucified, Risen, and Ascended Christ – I choose to celebrate the Reality as opposed to observing the shadows.

      The issue of ‘forever’ with regard to Law-keeping is addressed HERE.

      For the record, our celebration of the Resurrected Reality in Christ Jesus does not include bunnies and eggs etc. We do make a killing on after Easter candy sales, though =o).

  4. Rob.. just took a quick overview look at your website there. All topics on the first page are centered on why HRM is right and Christianity is wrong.. and all sorts of rabbit trails – Not Yeshua. This is the whole problem with the Movement. While you can claim all day it’s about Him.. in the end, it’s about the Law being right and proving someone else wrong. I got so starved for Jesus, I had to leave it to find Him again. I knew how to make it sound great too, but what I said, and the truth of our walk and focus of our teaching was very far from how I tried to present it to others. Facing that truth changed my life.

    • Rob…you would do well to scroll up this page a very short distance and look at the list of articles before you start accusing.

      • Nathan M, I wasn’t making any accusations. I thought my original posts were friendly and not condemning in any way. I’m not sure where you see “accusation” in what I’ve said. Just sharing my own perspective brother.

    • @8thday4life, I don’t believe Christianity gets everything wrong — heaven forbid! If you look back historically, Christianity did move away from some of God’s instructions, but that doesn’t make everything (or even most things) in Christianity wrong. In fact, I consider myself to be a “Christian” — that is, one who follows Christ (“Christ” is just a form of the Greek word for “Moshiach” or Messiah in Hebrew).

  5. ‘This site is not against the Laws of God’ – I think that is what you say in the side bar.
    Although that seems to be what this article is about.

    I agree that anyone can get caught up in the action and put the cart before the horse so to speak. It doesn’t really matter the topic – we all often try to ‘do’ something to please – others, ourselves or God.

    But you can’t argue that God had designed this biblical story and feast to teach us something about our Saviour and draw us closer to Him each year at this time. We are very grateful for the simple way that it demonstrates to our children His body, broken for them. Striped. Pierced. And yes, unleavened.

    I don’t think it’s possible for any of us to get it perfect. Thats not the point – never was. We’re not supposed to be like Martha in the kitchen frantic – rather, at His feet. And if we can do the feast with our families, and heed God’s command to remember it, then that is doing the right thing.

    I haven’t seen anywhere in Scripture yet that clearly states – do not do this. Rather, to keep it. With a heart saved by grace – yes! And with a desire to teach the truth to those in our care…absolutely. (Honestly, I think that’s why God instituted it – it’s a wonderful tool that kids and even adults can understand and grasp)

    It is a shadow – that’s ok. So long as we draw our eyes up to the One casting that shadow.
    There are yet others that have not been fulfilled. So those ‘shadows’ are not meaningless.

    God Bless

    • People miss the meaning of the word “שָׁמַר” It does not mean keep perfectly. http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H8104&t=KJV We are not supposed to be thinking from a pass/fail mindset when it comes to thinking about the Sabbath, and the Feast Days, it is an issue of love and obedience.

      YHWH knew from the beginning that the Israelites would not obey, and told them plainly that it was not because of their obedience that they would be brought into the land, but because of the wickedness of those who were currently living there.

      The Good News/Besorah is that the promised Messiah came and taught us how to keep the law according to the spirit, not the letter. But more importantly than that, because the Father knew that even that would be too much for us to handle perfectly, and because He wants to be in a relationship with each and every one of us, the Messiah, denying his own will, shed his blood so that we could be acceptable for all time in the Fathers eyes.

      All that we have to do is believe on the name of the Son, who incidentally has the Fathers name on him. I notice a lot of judgment from both sides on this issue, we would all do well to remember that if someone claims that they have the Spirit, and they are bearing good fruit, then we are in no place to judge their method or motive. On the other hand, if someone says that they have the Spirit and bear a fruit of accusation, division, hatred, and judgment what are we to do?

      • Nathan, Strong’s H8104 – shamar, means to to keep, guard, observe, give heed. The Law itself is clear that if one keeps it, one will stay alive and there are blessings attached. The Law is also clear that if the Law is not kept, curses will ensue. Not only that, but for disobedience in certain points results in death; either the death of the offender or the death of a sacrificial animal in their stead.

        God is clear; obedience or death:

        Deuteronomy18:1-13
        1Do not sacrifice to the Lord your God an ox or a sheep that has any defect or flaw in it, for that would be detestable to him.
        2 If a man or woman living among you in one of the towns the Lord gives you is found doing evil in the eyes of the Lord your God in violation of his covenant, 3and contrary to my command has worshiped other gods, bowing down to them or to the sun or the moon or the stars in the sky, 4and this has been brought to your attention, then you must investigate it thoroughly. If it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, 5take the man or woman who has done this evil deed to your city gate and stone that person to death. 6On the testimony of two or three witnesses a person is to be put to death, but no one is to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness. 7 The hands of the witnesses must be the first in putting that person to death, and then the hands of all the people. You must purge the evil from among you.

        8If cases come before your courts that are too difficult for you to judge—whether bloodshed, lawsuits or assaults—take them to the place the Lord your God will choose. 9Go to the Levitical priests and to the judge who is in office at that time. Inquire of them and they will give you the verdict. 10You must act according to the decisions they give you at the place the Lord will choose. Be careful to do everything they instruct you to do. 11Act according to whatever they teach you and the decisions they give you. Do not turn aside from what they tell you, to the right or to the left. 12Anyone who shows contempt for the judge or for the priest who stands ministering there to the Lord your God is to be put to death. You must purge the evil from Israel. 13All the people will hear and be afraid, and will not be contemptuous again.

        And where such a severe penalty is imposed, if a subjective standard of obedience was what God instituted, then God would/could be viewed as unjust. He did not, however impose a subjective system, nor is He unjust. He made His terms perfectly clear:

        Exodus 23:13
        13 “Be careful to do everything I have said to you.

        Deuteronomy 5:28-33
        28 The Lord heard you when you spoke to me and the Lord said to me, “I have heard what this people said to you. Everything they said was good. 29 Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!

        30 “Go, tell them to return to their tents. 31 But you stay here with me so that I may give you all the commands, decrees and laws you are to teach them to follow in the land I am giving them to possess.”

        32 So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. 33 Walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.

        Deuteronomy 8:1
        Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the Lord promised on oath to your forefathers.

        Deuteronomy 12:27-28
        27 Present your burnt offerings on the altar of the Lord your God, both the meat and the blood. The blood of your sacrifices must be poured beside the altar of the Lord your God, but you may eat the meat. 28 Be careful to obey all these regulations I am giving you, so that it may always go well with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is good and right in the eyes of the Lord your God.

        Jeremiah 7:21-26
        21 “‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go ahead, add your burnt offerings to your other sacrifices and eat the meat yourselves! 22 For when I brought your forefathers out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, 23 but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you. 24 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward. 25 From the time your forefathers left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again I sent you my servants the prophets. 26 But they did not listen to me or pay attention. They were stiff-necked and did more evil than their forefathers.’

        Joshua 1:6-9
        6 “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

        You’re thinking about now, but not all the Laws carried a death penalty. After the Work of Christ, we learn this:

        Galatians 5:3
        For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.

        James 2:10
        For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

        So if you choose to put yourself under Law (and the full-cream version of the Law as God gave it is quite different from the watered-down version you’ve latched onto), the Bible says that if you offend or fail in even one law, you are guilty of ALL of it. That boils down to the requirement of complete obedience to the whole Law (all that applies to you) all of the time – perfectly. YES. That is what God says. Clearly.

        The Bible also says that those in Christ are no longer under the Law. REPEATEDLY. That is the New Covenant.

        Here’s a really great teaching that helps to clarify the issues: How Wonderful is the Gospel.

      • The point is Wendy, that because there is no temple there are a huge portion of the commandments that in order to be in compliance with the Torah, we MUST NOT do. In my research I am learning that this may include the three pilgrimage feasts, in effect making your post moot. I would like to point out that both Paul and James seem to be referring to the idea of justifying yourself by the keeping of the Torah. You can not justify yourself in any way.

        Check out Acts 15, starting in verse one. You will see that the problem with what these people were teaching was NOT that they were teaching people to keep the Torah, but rather that they were teaching people that UNLESS they were circumcised they could not have salvation. I actually believe that it says that they must be circumcised FIRST. Both of these statements are false. Circumcision of the flesh means nothing without the circumcision of the heart that was meant to accompany it from the beginning. Do a search for the word circumcision in the Tanakh and see how many references are for a circumcision of the heart, not the flesh.

      • Nathan, I do understand your point.

        Here’s the thing: EVERY Law-keeper stands on Matthew 5:18, stating that NOT ONE jot or tittle shall pass – yet some obviously HAVE. Why? Because Christ Jesus fulfilled the Law. It’s as simple as that. If you choose to live under Law, then you must live under it as it was given. No one could do it before the Temple and the Levitical preisthood passed, and God made it even MORE OBVIOUS that it could not be kept as He gave it by allowing the Temple and the Levitical priesthood to pass.

        I’m not under the delusion, as most Law-keepers think, that they are trying to earn salvation by the keeping of the Law. I do not think or believe that! Most Torah-folk get into the whole Law-keeping thing because they love God and want to please him. But somewhere along the way things change; Law-keeping becomes a supposed source of blessing, a source of righteousness (sin is transgression of the Law, afterall), and along the way, it morphs into something that they must do to prove that they are saved – the fruit of their salvation (which is totally NOT supported by Scripture), and if you take that to its logical end, if one is not keeping Law as proof/fruit of salvation, then one is not truly saved or in grave danger of losing one’s salvation (once they become aware of what’s expected of them, of course).

        As for Acts 15, it is clear, as is Galatians; both deal with salvation and Law as well as believers and the Law. And both are clear: Salvation does not come by Law and NIETHER does sanctification.

        What are the results of a focus on Law for those in Christ?

        Law stirs up sin:

        Romans 7:7-8
        7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead.

        Law produces death:

        Romans 7:9-11
        9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it [the commandment] killed me.

        Law produces fruit unto death:

        Romans 7:5
        5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.

        What are the results of a focus on Grace and the Spirit for those in Christ?

        Grace teaches us godliness:

        Titus 2:11-14
        11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It [grace] teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

        The Spirit produces life:

        Romans 8:5-6
        5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;

        The Spirit produces the Fruits of the Spirit:

        Galatians 5:22-25
        22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

        If we are led by the Spirit, we are not under Law. It really is that simple =o).

    • The Law does not allow for any of us to ‘be at His feet’. It separates us because of our sin, unless we bring a sacrifice, and then we can only get as close as the priest, who only gets as close as the high priest, who only gets to go into the Holy of Holies once a year (if he survives it). Hardly the picture of intimacy. That’s not at all how God relates to us in the New Covenant – a covenant superior to the Old on so many levels (2 Cor. 3, Hebrews).

      As for object lessons for children, I know some folks (and hear about more all the time) that keep a lamb or goat in their home for examination before sacrifice. They then slaughter the animal for the Passover meal. One mom told me that they do this to show their children the seriousness of their sin.

      I often wonder how much more effective the lesson would be if they did everything up to the actual slaughter, and then in Grace told their children How Wonderful is the Gospel instead! What an impact, after having that sweet lamb/goat in their care for so many days, and then getting to see it run free and alive because of the Work of Christ =o). Now THAT’s and object lesson!

      About shadows and Reality? The Reality is light, and in Him there is no darkness (1 John 1). Not even shadows.

  6. I love the Lord Jesus and I love His law. All His ways are right. Thank you Father for your Son, our example. Spotless Lamb of God, Yeshua, our Sacrifice. We thank you Father, for your Grace. May we take it to heart and not sin against you.

    “For He is
    King of kings,
    and Lord of lords. And He will reign forever and ever.
    Forever and ever, HalleluYAH, HalleluYAH!”

  7. I would encourage anyone who considers themselves a Torah follower to read The Law of Perfect Freedom by Michael Horton and to listen to these free sermons from the Christless Christianity conference found here: [link removed]

    Jesus is the shadow, so now we are commanded to follow HIM. I am currently studying the Old Testament Tabernacle and I am amazed at the beautiful picture of Jesus! Jesus is the true Tabernacle! He is the Passover Lamb! He is the narrow gate! He is the way, the truth and the life! Jesus is the Word! He is the manna sent down from heaven! He is the High Priest! Jesus’ life in us is the fruit (John 15:8).We must find our identity in Jesus Christ and NOT in “doing” things. It’s about resting in Christ. Our flesh wants to “do” something. The hardest work of a Christian is resting in Christ.

    So, yes, we should love His law but not because we can perfectly obey it, but because Jesus Christ is the only One Who perfectly obeyed the law! He is the WORD! It’s all about Jesus!

    Our family will be celebrating Passover soon but not because we are commanded to, but because we want to teach our children about Jesus! We ARE commanded to take communion in remembrance of Jesus now.

    The law shows us how sinful and wretched we are. It shows us our need for a Savior! I’m so thankful for Jesus!

    • Hi Jamie,

      I’m sorry, I cannot agree with your recommendation for Michael Horton’s book. One of the quotes I saw in the reviews was this:

      ‘Only the Spirit can take those dead in trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1) and make them alive. And once one is made alive, he or she is able to respond positively and affectionately to the law of God for the first time.’ p 26

      We who are in Christ die to the Law in order to be joined to another, Who is Christ (Romans 7:1-4). After we come to Christ we are dead to the Law – we have nothing more to do with it and it has nothing more to do with us. We don’t respond ‘positively and affectionately’ to that which we have died to. What would be the point? The Law does not produce righteousness in us; it only serves to stir up sin (Romans 7:7-8) and is the ‘ministry of death’ (2 Cor. 3). The commands of God are this:

      1 John 3:21-24
      21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

      We don’t memorialize and remember our sin anymore; we remember the Work of Christ and what He accomplished on our behalf – we are the righteousness of God in Christ (1 Cor 1:30, 2 Cor 5:21). We remember His Work in the bread and the wine – the forgiveness of sins that was purchased for us at so great a price. When we celebrate the Resurrection, we celebrate the New Life we have in Christ because of the Gift of righteousness that God gives to us (Romans 5), enabling Him to indwell us with His Holy Spirit (Eph 1). Better Covenant. Better Promises. Superior on every level. I choose the New Covenant.

      I also removed the link to the teaching series you recommended; folks can do a search if they really want to check it out, but I don’t recommend Reformed Theology resources here at JGIG. You can read about why HERE and HERE.

      I’ll offer this link instead: God’s Solution to Man’s Problem – Life

      • Yahushua was eating the Passover with his disciples when he instituted communion. And he said whenever you eat THIS bread and drink THIS cup. I do not understand where you get the concept that Passover celebrates sin. Exodus 12 reads “And ye shall observe [the feast of] unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever. ” This is extremely similar to one of the two reasons we are given for observing the Sabbath Deuteronomy 5 “And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and [that] Yahuah thy Elohim brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore Yahuah thy Elohim commanded thee to keep the sabbath day. ”

        Now before you say “Oh, but that was for the Jews/Israelites/Hebrew People” please consider 1 Corinthians 10 “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; ” Feel free to read these chapters and the surrounding chapters in full to obtain context. As they are plainly written you are blown out of the water by Paul himself who tells you explicitly to keep the feast, but realizing the leaven is representative of a spiritual issue.

        You say “If you want to do the object lessons of the Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits to learn how God designed His Law and its shadows to perfectly point to Christ, that’s fine. ” but what you are not realizing is that that is what those things were from the beginning, and the only people that have ever made them anything else (aka a way to earn salvation) are people who accuse HRM people. Talk to a Jew, ask him if he thinks he is going to heaven by grace or because of his good works.

        The Levitical priesthood is the hardest thing for me to wrap my head around. I am not sure if it is done away with completely and replaced by the Melchizedek priesthood, or if it is on hiatus because there is no temple. Without righteous judges who are judging using the Torah there can be no penalty for breaking any of the laws listed anyways, not on this earth anyways. We will all be judged, some will be judged righteous (those who accept the Messiah) and others wicked (those who reject him). Paul says that we are building a house right now, whether it be of straw, wood, precious stones or precious metal, and the fire will test it. Fire is Yahuah’s judgment.

      • Nathan, I hope you don’t mind that I put some paragraph breaks in your comments to make them easier for me to read.

        You wrote, “I do not understand where you get the concept that Passover celebrates sin.”

        I did not write that Passover celebrates sin, Nathan. I wrote that the Old Covenant practices memorialize sin; year after year sacrifices are brought:

        Hebrews 10:1
        The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming–not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.

        Old Covenant practice constantly has people looking at their sinfulness; the New Covenant is a celebration of the Work of Christ and the resulting Gift of Righteousness in Him (Romans 5).

        You wrote, “You say “If you want to do the object lessons of the Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits to learn how God designed His Law and its shadows to perfectly point to Christ, that’s fine. ” but what you are not realizing is that that is what those things were from the beginning, and the only people that have ever made them anything else (aka a way to earn salvation) are people who accuse HRM people.”

        Nathan, I’m very clear that most HRMers do not believe that they must keep Law to attain salvation. I’m also keenly aware that many HRMers come to the conclusion that they must keep Law to maintain their salvation. I cover that issue in some depth HERE.

        You also wrote, “The Levitical priesthood is the hardest thing for me to wrap my head around. I am not sure if it is done away with completely and replaced by the Melchizedek priesthood, or if it is on hiatus because there is no temple.”

        May I suggest you click here: The Wonder of Our Great High Priest

        It’s a really wonderful teaching detailing the Perfect High Priesthood of Christ and it’s implications.

      • Thank you for putting paragraph breaks in. Also…I will read your article about the differences between keeping the law for/for maintaining salvation.

  8. JGIG,

    Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I’m not sure if you remember me, but I wrote you a while ago about how I was thrilled to have found your blog, as I was at one time, studying what it meant to be a Torah follower, and becoming very legalistic in the process. Many Torah followers (as I’m sure you know) tend to become Jewish and forget about Christ in their pursuit to obey all of God’s commands perfectly, even the commands that were a shadow of Christ.

    I also wrote that I was so thankful that the Lord humbled me and set me free from the bondage of legalism. I referenced Pastor Tullian’s teachings and book. He is also of the reformed theology.

    Let me start by saying that I don’t have it all figured out. The Christian life is a journey. A journey that I am so thankful to be on. I was reading during my Bible study this morning where Paul says, “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14) and in 1 Corinthians 2:1-2 Paul says, “And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified”.

    I would like to reference some of Michael Horton’s quotes, taken from his book “The Law of Perfect Freedom, Relating to God and Others Through the Ten Commandments”. First, he talks about the three different kinds of laws, the moral, ceremonial, and civil laws. He says that in “the moral, we have the Ten Commandments, with all of their repeated charges and extrapolations in the New Testament. Individuals are to love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and their neighbor as themselves”. He talks about the importance of the ceremonial laws and how all of the ceremonial laws were fulfilled in Christ (Hebrews). Then he talks about the third category: the civil laws. He says, “Just as Israel’s ceremonial laws prefigured Christ as the great prophet and priest, so her civil laws prefigured Christ as the great king”.

    The he goes on to talk about the moral law, “Every person-even the most perverted or confused person- has the law written on their conscience, Paul tells us in the first two chapters of Romans. But only believers have the law written on their heart. Before, it only condemned and cursed, but now, because we are regarded as having fulfilled that law perfectly because Christ fulfilled it in our place, it can only direct us in our Christian life. It can never make such threats as “If you don’t do your part, God won’t do His”. After all, God did “our part” through the perfect life and death of His own Son. Now, not only does this unconditional promise bring life to us who cannot gain a single part of the promise through our own obedience or effort; it brings a new heart that loves God’s law for the first time. Notice that, instead of removing the law from the life of the believer, Paul declares, “You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts…He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant-not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:3-4,6).

    “This is not, as many have thought, to set the Spirit against the Word or law of God. Rather, it is to say that apart from the life-giving Spirit, God’s commands (as well as His gospel promise) are dead. Or, better still, it is to say, that we are dead. The law cannot give us life. We cannot gain life (or keep it or become more “filled with the Spirit,” or whatever you want to call it) by trying to achieve it. It all belongs to every believer. Only the Spirit can take those “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1) and make them alive. And once one is made alive, he or she is able to respond positively and affectionately to the law of God for the first time.”

    “For those, like the Pharisees, who sought to be justified by their own righteousness, the law comes to condemn and judge. But for those, like David, who have known the liberating good news of God’s free justification of the wicked, the law comes to lead and guide in the paths of righteousness: “I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free” (Psalm 119:32 italics added). “He has revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and decrees to Israel. He has done this for no other nation; they do not know his laws. Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 147:19-20). Only those who know the privilege of adoption can say with the Psalmist, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law!” (Psalm 119:18).

    You would have to read the whole book and not just pull out quotes here and there to understand Horton’s beliefs. As you can see, God’s moral law, to love the Lord God with all you heart, mind, soul, and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself, is the summarization of the Ten Commandments. And we can never obey these commands apart from Christ. I was just listening to a sermon by Horton talking about this. How the Sermon On the Mount is to show us how sinful we are and that we can never obey God’s moral laws.

    RC Sproul talks about the difference between the law and the gospel in his sermon from the Christless Christianity conference called “Good Advice or Good News” talking about the parable of the rich young ruler.

    Have a great day!

    • Hi Jamie,

      Again, I cannot endorse or recommend Reformed teachings as a rule. I did post one of Tullian’s teachings on the JGIG facebook page, but doing so was the exception, not the rule. There are some really solid teachings that come from some Reformed teachers, but overall, they do tend to dress up Law in/as Grace. I have found far better resources out there on the subject, many of which are included HERE and HERE.

      One must be careful not to confuse the Doctrines of Grace (so named by Reformed theologians) with the Gospel of Grace (so named by the Apostles). The ‘Doctrines of Grace’ are founded primarily on the ‘TULIP‘ model, a model in which I find some really unscriptural proclamations. I’m like a .5/.5 point Calvinist, ha. Each half point on the ‘T’ and ‘P’ points of Calvinism.

      I agree with the concept of Total Depravity only to the point where man cannot be good enough to ‘earn’ his/her salvation. That said, mankind did eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, not just from the Tree of the Knowledge of Evil. Mankind does posses the ability to do good in this world. I know some very good and nice unbelievers. When judged by the Law, however, they will always fall short unless they are in Christ, as the Scriptures clearly tell us. Here’s the thing: No one goes to Hell for the sins that they commit; they go to Hell because of the sin of First Adam (Romans 5). Seem unfair? Let’s look at the flip side: Every person who goes to Heaven does not go there because of the righteousness that they have achieved by keeping the Law; they go to Heaven because of the Righteousness of Christ which is likewise imputed to them when they put their faith in Christ (also Romans 5). Equally ‘unfair’, but in our favor – that is Grace.

      Unconditional Election asserts: “that God has chosen from eternity those whom he will bring to himself not based on foreseen virtue, merit, or faith in those people; rather, his choice is unconditionally grounded in his mercy alone. God has chosen from eternity to extend mercy to those he has chosen and to withhold mercy from those not chosen. Those chosen receive salvation through Christ alone. Those not chosen receive the just wrath that is warranted for their sins against God.” Yet in numerous places we see where salvation is offered to all on the basis of Grace through faith. One Scripture that comes to mind specifically is

      Titus 2:11
      For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.

      The offer is freely given to those who will accept the Gift of Righteousness. There are not those ‘chosen’ to be saved and those ‘chosen’ to be damned. That is a lie from the Pit.

      Unconditional Election is interwoven with the concept of ‘Limited Atonement’, where Calvinism asserts that “Jesus’s substitution[al] atonement was definite and certain in its purpose and in what it accomplished. This implies that only the sins of the elect were atoned for by Jesus’s death. Calvinists do not believe, however, that the atonement is limited in its value or power, but rather that the atonement is limited in the sense that it is intended for some and not all.” Bull Pucky. God is clear in His Word that the Work of Christ resulted in the forgiveness of the sins of the WHOLE world (John 3, Rom. 5, 2 Cor. 5, 1 John 2 and others). Does that mean all are saved? No. One must receive that forgiveness and the Gift of Righteousness, resulting in the New Life in the Spirit (Eph. 1-2). Which leads us to the next concept -

      Irresistible Grace, which asserts that “that the saving grace of God is effectually applied to those whom he has determined to save (that is, the elect) and overcomes their resistance to obeying the call of the gospel, bringing them to a saving faith. This means that when God sovereignly purposes to save someone, that individual certainly will be saved.” Again, disagree. Free Will is all over the Scriptures. The Sovereignty of God is not thwarted by His giving to man free will. Lots more to say about this, but not the time or the place.

      Perseverance of the Saints “(or preservation) of the saints (the word “saints” is used to refer to all who are set apart by God, and not of those who are exceptionally holy, canonized, or in heaven) asserts that since God is sovereign and his will cannot be frustrated by humans or anything else, those whom God has called into communion with himself will continue in faith until the end. Those who apparently fall away either never had true faith to begin with or will return to the faith.” I’m in the ‘Once Saved, Always Saved’ camp, no doubt (see THIS post). What I have always found to be a disconnect (one of several) is that those in the Reformed camp is that they claim eternal security, yet if someone falls into sin, they say something like, “Well, that person was never really saved to begin with.” That is akin to eternal security ‘if’, which is no different than the conditional security stance.

      Note now that I’ll not entertain a debate here regarding Calvinism; there are LOTS of other sites already doing that! I’m just giving you a short idea of why, as a rule, I don’t post Reformed teachings at JGIG. Rarely I may make an exception, such as with the teaching posted at the beginning of this comment. I appreciate your heart, but please don’t post any more teachings from Reformed sources here, as I don’t have time to go through all of them before they are posted (or not). If you have something you think is particularly good, feel free to email me with a link.

      Thanks, Jamie.

      Grace and peace,
      -JGIG

  9. Hi JGIG,

    Just for the record, I did not come to your site to debate Calvinism. :-) I did reply to your post to talk about the errors of the beliefs of those who follow the Torah. The reason why I originally listed the Christless Christianity conference is because the whole conference is talking about how Christians have taken Christ out of the equation and replaced Him with a “do more, try harder” mentality. I am learning that it’s not only Torah followers, but all religions, political beliefs, even Christians who believe in the alternative gospel of moralism. Jesus repeatedly teaches us that our righteousness (“do more. try harder” mentality) will not get us to heaven. Most Christians may not struggle with believing that our good behavior is required to initially earn God’s favor; but they do struggle daily with believing that our good behavior is required to keep God’s favor. It’s all law (what we must do) and no gospel (what He has done). Tullian talks about this a lot. My whole point is that it’s not about us and what we do, it’s all about Christ and what He has done. And when we rest in Christ, then we will bear fruit. It’s the upside down kingdom. It’s not about us, it’s all about Christ, and it is so freeing. Jesus’ parables have come to life to me since the Lord spoke these truths to me. I now read the whole Bible differently. It’s like my eyes have all of a sudden been opened and I’m so thankful.

    • Jamie wrote, “Just for the record, I did not come to your site to debate Calvinism. :-)”

      Understood =o). I just didn’t want to reject the links you posted outright without letting you know why.

      If you are sorting out what God would show you regarding His Grace and who you are in Christ from some Reformed teachings, then that’s a really good thing! I’m so glad =o). There are many in the Reformed camp, however, that teach Law dressed up as Grace. Knowing that, and not having time to listen to/read every reformed link I’m sent, I just don’t recommend Reformed teachings as a rule since they tend to be a mixed bag. My apologies if I’ve bruised you in any way; it is not my intent. And like I said, if you feel like you have a really solid teaching (please, not a series, ha!) that I should listen to, please feel free to email me about it with a link and an overview.

      Blessings,
      -JGIG

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