• What JGIG Is:

    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 Forrest 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.

    Be sure to click on the many embedded links within the posts here - there's lots of additional and related information for you to access that way, as well.

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

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Law Keepers – Part 4 – Thoughts on the New Covenant

Okay, so about Torah observance for Christians . . . setting aside – just for a moment – the scriptures which support the concept that we are free from the Law because of what Christ did at the Cross, there are some practical problems with keeping the Law in a post-Cross world, are there not?

There is no temple, there are no high priests, most  believers do not or are not able to go to Jerusalem at the appointed times for the appointed feasts.  So how do believers who are Torah observant reconcile these and other inconsistencies?

The following was posted by me on the mom’s forum I subscribe to in response to posts by those who “keep” the Law:

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I just want to stress again that the following is intended as a defense of what I believe to be scripturally sound teaching regarding Grace and the Law.

At the Last Supper Jesus held up the bread and the wine and said, “This is my Body and my blood, do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:14-20)  Jesus says in Luke 22:20,“This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”  Jesus wants us to remember that His Flesh and Blood took the place of the old covenant (Law) to make us acceptable (free from sin – from spiritual death to spiritual life) before God.  It seems to be a rather significant point made during the observance of a feast itself.  He shifted the focus in a very clear way from remembering what the Passover was all about to remembering what the breaking of  HIS Body and the shedding of  HIS Blood was all about . . . replacing the blood on the doorposts (a TEMPORARY solution) with His own Blood (the PERMANENT solution).

To say that that is not enough, or to say that one does not realize the full meaning of all God has done UNLESS one observes the Torah, or that one is not pleasing to or loving God enough if one is not observing the Torah is to say that the shed Blood of Christ is really not enough.  That is ground I would not care to tread upon.  And make no mistake, that is where you are treading if you feel we all should be Torah observant. 

It is not Jesus plus anything that pleases God.  God in the flesh – Jesus – fully God and fully man, was crucified and shed His blood for our sins, rose from the dead three days later, and ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father.  He finished the complete work of salvation.  God does not require that we follow Torah.  He nailed the written code to the cross (Colossians 2:13-15).  He released us from the Law when He released us from our sin through the Blood of Christ. 

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.  And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.”  (Romans 8:1-4) 

The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in a repentant believer, cleansed by the blood of  THE Lamb, results in the changing of a person – from the inside out!  The Law works itself from the outside in.  And it’s never enough.  Jesus talks a LOT about that in Matthew 23.

Can one truly be “Torah observant” when, in reality, one is selective in which parts of the Law one obeys?  Are there not parts of the Law that require a High Priest and a Temple?  What about animal sacrifice?  Did God become flesh and spill His blood simply to spare us the inconvenience of sacrificing animals?

What about penalties for those who violate the parts of the law for which the punishment is death?  Who will take on the “responsibility” of making sure that appropriate punishment is administered according to the Law?  Do not Deuteronomy 27:26 and Galatians 3:10 say that “cursed is everyone who does not continue to do EVERYTHING written in the Book of the Law?” (Caps mine.)

How is it, in the view of Law keepers, that Grace exempts one from observing/performing the parts of the Law that one finds inconvenient or impractical, but does not exempt one from observing/performing the more palatable parts of the Law?

Honestly, my intent is not to be antagonistic here.  I really wonder how those who are “Torah observant” can reconcile these obvious problems with consistency in obedience to the Law.  If you do go ahead and decide to perform sacrifices, to be consistent, then of what use is the Cross?  Have you not left the Cross, rejected the redemptive work of the Blood that was shed there for you by the Lamb of God?

“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ.  He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross.  And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.  Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.  These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.”  (Colossians 2:13-17)

I wonder . . . . . how does God view Law-keeping through the lenses of His Grace and His Blood?

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Are we justified before God because of Jesus’ work at the Cross or are we not?   I found a really really good teaching titled, “Justified Through Faith” at Pass The ToastI suggest that you turn on the audio as you read through the teaching.  The audio is a little fuzzy, but I found that I got much more out of the teaching as I listened while I read, to hear the inflection in the words which were being spoken.

May I also suggest that you take a look at the testimony of Aaron Budjen, a Jewish Christian.  He gives a very good account about how God showed him the difference between spiritual death and spiritual life and how God led him from one to the other – all from the perspective of one born a Jew and raised a Jew – studying to become a Rabbi.  His perspective on salvation and the Law is very enlightening.

~~~~~~~

Though the above was one of my last posts (there is one more in response to another “Law” mom I’ll be posting here later) on the mom’s forum regarding Torah observance for Christians (the discussion was shut down by the moderator to those of us who had been debating there), it was evident to me that based on the responses posted by “Law Keepers” that there was a stream of thought . . . a source of teaching . . . this doctrine was coming from somewhere.  Not only that, but after my “What About the Blood?!” post, the responses that came from “Law Keepers” contained discernible heresy.

These and other issues regarding the Hebrew Roots and Sacred Name Movements will be discussed in future posts here.  Stay tuned . . .

For a complete listing of posts at JGIG regarding the Hebrew Roots Movement, click HERE.

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Other articles of interest:

A clear presentation of the Gospel can be found HERE.  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.  Good, foundational studies with a special emphasis on Old Covenant/New Covenant Truths can be found HERE.  Be sure to check out the Testimonies Page, as well.   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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7 Responses

  1. Great stuff, Wendy! Thank you so much. I’m at a loss sometimes to counter these arguements, so it’s really good to read your posts about this issue.

  2. What a beautiful and insightful blog! I look forward to recommending it to others. You are sure doing a great job fulfilling Jude 3 in contending for the faith (not based on works!)

    In Jesus,
    Dwayna

  3. “I wonder . . . . . how does God view Law-keeping through the lenses of His Grace and His Blood?”

    Wendy,

    I’d say he takes a pretty dim view of it. We are in essence saying to Jesus, ‘Hey Jesus, scoot over a little bit on that cross and make some room up there for me and let me show you how serious I am about this God project.’

    Well, the truth of the mattere is that none of us are serious about living the way God wants us to (the law)…none of us. Anyone that thinks they are is just kidding themselves.

    Thanks Wendy, great post!

    – Steve Martin

  4. Wendy-

    Keep up the good work.

    I look forwrad to examining your post on American farming. Grin.

  5. I’m going to try this again. I had comments written to all of you and they went *poof*. Oh well, I’ll try again . . .

    K – Thanks! Yeah, banter with the Law-keeping mindset can be challenging. A lot of what they say sounds reasonable, but there’s always something that’s a bit “off”. Holding fast to the Cross and what Jesus did there is key or you can start to feel a little sucked in.

    Dwayna – Thanks for your kind words about JGIG. I pray that some will find sound reasoning here when it comes to the Law and its proper place in God’s plan.

    theoldadam – If what you’re saying is that none of us can ever be serious enough about the things of God to be justified before Him, I agree. I do, however, want to be careful not to cheapen the grace that God so lovingly extended to us. Positionally we are righteous and we are justified before God through the blood of the Lamb. Then the Holy Spirit works in us, refining us to be more and more an accurate reflection of Christ. I always want to be willing to let Him do His work in me.

    Hutch – Thanks! And about that American farming post – yeah, that’s me – Farmer Jane, the expert on farming (HA).

  6. I stumbled on your blog while researching the Hebrew Roots movement. I’m a long-time Christian who met a few Messianic Christians and have had my comfortable world rocked because so much of what they are saying seems supported by scripture. I’ve now been on a quest for truth.

    I’m truly enjoying your blog. I do have one question. My Torah observant friends are saying that prior to Jesus’ death, the penalty for failing at Torah was death. Now we are saved by Grace, since no one can keep Torah perfectly. However, they argue that the Law (mainly Sabbath observance, clean eating, and festival observance) were never done away with.

    I have to admit there are plenty of verses in Exodus where God says “keep these festivals forever, through all generations”

    So, I remain confused. Very confused. Thoughts?

    • Hi Neysa,

      Thanks for your kind words about JGIG.

      Regarding your first question, what your Torah friends are really saying is that the wages of sin is no longer death, which cannot be in any way supported by Scripture. We who are in Christ, however, have died to the Law, so that we could be joined to another, Christ! In Him we have the righteousness of God:

      Romans 7:1-6
      Do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to men who know the law—that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? 2 For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. 3 So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man.

      4 So, my brothers, 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 to God. 5 For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. 6 But 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.

      Galatians 5:18
      16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

      2 Corinthians 5:17-21
      17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

      The Law is a comprehensive unit; for those in Christ, parts of the were not done away with and other parts still stand – Matthew 5 testifies against that notion:

      Matthew 5:17-18
      17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

      Two things about the Matthew passage: 1) Jesus said He came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. All of the Law is fulfilled; the prophecies concerning the Work of Christ up until the Final Things have also been fulfilled. Either Jesus fulfilled the Law as He said He came to do or He lied. One cannot have it both ways! The jots and tittles still exist, but are rendered obsolete in Christ (Hebrews 8).

      The Law does not provide for ‘sin reduction’ in the believer, but rather the Law stirs up sin and produces death:

      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.

      Now onto the ‘Forever’ issue =o). A big thing that Torah folk pull out is that forever means forever! Well, simply by looking at Revelation 21 and 22 testify that in Eternity there will be no Temple and no sun or night, so no place for carrying out the edicts of the Law and no sun for measuring times and seasons. If that is the case, then we need to re-examine the meaning and usage of the Hebrew word for, ‘forever’. I put together a short video about it, that can be seen HERE. There’s also a facebook post and discussion about it can be found HERE. I think after you watch the video things will be a lot clearer =o).

      Also, have you read the latest post at JGIG (Hebrew Roots Movement – Hebrews 10, Willful Sin, No More Sacrifice, and Judgement, Oh My!)? It may help to answer some of your other questions, as well.

      One thing that I really want to encourage you about: You don’t have to have all the facets and bunny trails of the HRM figured out. Ground yourself in the simple Truths of the Gospel: Who Christ Jesus is, what He came to accomplish, and who you are in Christ. One resource that I highly recommend is is the New Covenant Institute, with teachings from a Hebrew Christian who became a believer while studying to become a Rabbi. He has several excellent series (all free downloads), but two that come to mind that really solidify Scripturally who we are in Christ are these: Atonement and Propitiation, and Understanding Forgiveness. He also has a good series in which he details the High Priesthood of Christ and what that means in reality: Jesus the Priest

      I don’t agree with everything the following ministry teaches (they are definitely on the signs and wonders end of the spectrum, but are right on target when it comes to Old Covenant/New Covenant issues), but the following free download is one of the best teachings I’ve heard regarding Christ as our High Priest and what that means (it gets going around time stamp 6:00): The Wonder of Our Great High Priest.

      You can find more New Covenant teachings HERE.

      One thing that I’ve learned over the years and that has been such an incredible blessing is that whenever an HRMer would present me with a teaching/doctrine that would stump me, as I studied it out, it was amazing how God has ordained it so that the Gospel will always, Always, ALWAYS stand =o)!

      Blessings to you, Neysa, and feel free to comment here at JGIG or email me privately if you have any more questions.

      Grace and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ,
      -JGIG

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