• 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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Jesus’ Gospel? Paul’s Gospel?

Jesus’ Gospel?  Paul’s Gospel?  Are they different?  Or are they complementary?  Is Paul’s Gospel ‘his’, or is it God’s Gospel embraced by Paul?  Are Paul’s writings (and the other apostolic writings in the New Covenant Scriptures) what Jesus alluded to in John 16?

Jesus vs Paul

I was asked this question in an email recently:

“Another question, some at hrm [Hebrew Roots Movement/Torah pursuant folks] say there is the gospel of Jesus vs the gospel of Paul.  Basically they teach that Paul wrote his own gospel even though Jesus clearly stated after his death burial and resurrection there would be more to come(information).”

My response (edited and expanded for this venue):
That’s a great question! In John 16, Jesus says this:

12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.  14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.  15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Jesus is clearly telling His disciples that there is more truth to come that they, on that side of the Cross, could not, would not understand.

The Work of the Cross, the Resurrection, the Ascension, and His Perfect High Priesthood all needed to be in place before the fullness of the Gospel of Grace could be explained.

With the implications to the Law and Israel’s relationship with it and with God, when you think about it, it kinda had to be Paul to receive that revelation of the Gospel of Grace.

Paul was a Pharisee of the highest reputation, knowing the Law inside and out.  For him to embrace the Gospel of Grace, which he proclaimed to be ‘his’ Gospel, was huge.  To address that question real quick, Paul, by the end of his letter to the Romans states that it is ‘his’ Gospel, not in an ‘I thought it up and created it’ way, but in an ‘I now embrace this Gospel of Grace as my Good News, applied to my life – the New Covenant, superior to the Old Covenant for which I had such passion’ way.

Note that in Romans 1, Paul says this:

16 For I am not ashamed of >>> the <<< gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.  17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

At the beginning of the letter to the Romans it is ‘the’ Gospel, and the letter to the Romans is a treatise on our

>>> need <<< for the Gospel for Jews and Gentiles alike, the

>>> supply <<< of the Gospel for Jews and Gentiles alike, and the

>>> results <<< of the Gospel for Jews and Gentiles alike.

And Paul expertly weaves the proper use of the Law and the application and superiority of Grace throughoutat the end proclaiming, as a former Pharisee Law-keeper, that this is *his* Gospel – a Gospel that he embraces *himself*, after having gone through the issues of Law and Grace point by point throughout the letter (and also in his other letters).

Now read Paul’s closing comments in Romans 16:

25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations,

>>> according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— <<<

27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

So the Gospel that Paul preached was not a gospel apart from Christ’s, but Paul’s and the other apostolic New Covenant writings were the fulfillment of what Christ said in John 16.

Paul minces no words here when establishing the source and authority for what he was teaching to the Galatians:

11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. 

12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it,

>>> but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. <<<

13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16

>>> was pleased to reveal his Son to me, <<<

in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

One thing to note here, as well, is that Jesus said that the Spirit of Truth would point to and glorify Christ – not to point to and glorify the Law, but to Christ, which is what Paul and the other apostles do all throughout the New Covenant Scriptures.

God was no longer relating to mankind – nor was He desiring mankind to relate to Him – through the Law, but through the Work and Person of God in the flesh, Christ Jesus.

So Paul (and the others) were not writing their own ‘gospels’; they were carrying out the fulfillment of Jesus’ words in John 16 – they were receiving that further information that could be understood on the side of the Cross where they now lived and we do too – revealing what was actually accomplished at the Cross, the Resurrection, the Ascension, and with the High Priesthood of Christ – and writing it down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

The point of this post is to show that Paul does not contradict the Gospel of Christ, but by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, explains it.

12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.  14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.  15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.  (from John 16)

Paul, in particular, expertly goes back to the Law and the Prophets and shows how the Old Covenant shadows give way to the New Covenant realities in Christ.

So the next time a Law ‘keeper’ tries to tell you that Paul’s Gospel is either ‘misunderstood’ (those who try to twist Paul’s words to support Torah observance for believers) or a ‘different’ gospel from Jesus’ Gospel (those who reject Paul’s writings outright), point them to John 16!

(I found the illustration at a pro-Islam think tank site, btw.  Funny, they use the same arguments that HRMers tend to use!)

Grace and peace to you in our Lord, Jesus Christ!

-JGIG

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Other articles of interest:

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If you or someone you know is in the HRM or a related Law-keeping sect and are questioning what you believe, 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 other testimonies on 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.  May God guide and bless you as you seek His Truth.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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19 Responses

  1. Excellent!!!!

  2. Romans 3:31 31Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

    • The Laws given to Israel were given for several reasons at the time, chief among them to protect the bloodline of Israel and the distinctions between the Tribes so that Messiah would be recognized when He came. The other key reason the Law was given was to show man his self-righteousness and inability to keep the righteous standard that God requires, and that is perfection.

      After the Cross, the Law has these functions:

      • It was given to increase transgressions (Rom. 5:20)
      • It was given to stir up sin (Rom. 7:5)
      • The Law is the power of sin (1 Cor. 15:56)
      • The Law was given to lead us to Christ (Gal. 3)

      After we come to Christ, the Law has nothing more to do with us, and we have nothing more to do with the Law:

      4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.

      5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.

      6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. (from Rom. 5)

      We don’t enter into a moral vacuum when that happens – No! The New Covenant Scriptures go on to say this:

      19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! (from Gal. 2)”

      8 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me. (from 1 Tim. 1)

      Are you using the Law properly?

  3. The ONLY law that Christ fulfilled is the shedding of blood for the remission of sins. We no longer need to shed blood for forgiveness of sins. But since you did not include ALL of Romans Chap 3 where Paul states that the law has been established you are guilty of “cherry picking” scriptures to denounce ALL law (i.e., ten commandments, sermon on the mount, etc.)

    In Christ We Live
    AND Obey

    • Huh. Jesus said He came to fulfill THE Law, not just a part of it.

      I’ll go with what He said =o).

    • To respond to the above comment, “The ONLY law that Christ fulfilled is the shedding of blood for the remission of sins.”

      If Yeshua as a Man, was born under the Mosaic Law, (Galatians 4:4.) yet was declared to be without “blemish” or “spot” and as being “without sin”, (2 Corinthians 5:21., Hebrews 4:15., 7:26,27., 9:14., 1 Peter 1:19., 2:22., and 1 John 3:5.), the only possible way He could have attained that “designation” is by first “fulfilling” whatever was “applicable, required and necessary” to fulfill in respects to the Mosaic Law, as God The Father had intended for man to fulfill it.

      If He had “broken just one” of Father God’s Mosaic Laws, then He would have been guilty of breaking the “corpus of Mosaic Law”, (James 2:10,11.), and would have instead been declared to be a “sinner” and would not only have “blemish” and “spot”, but would also have NOT been received by God as a worthy sacrifice on our behalf.

      Yeshua was the only Man that understood the depth, scope and breadth of the corpus of Mosaic Law, (Matthew 5:21-47.) and was therefore, also the only Man ever capable of fulfilling the Mosaic Law, perfectly and with the exact same precision that God Himself would fulfill it, being God in the flesh. (Matthew 5:48.).

      In respects to “cherry picking”, isn’t that a bit hypocritical?

      Within just Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, there are the following verses that convey that the “Mosaic Law is a whole corpus of instruction”, where “ALL, each and every Commandment issued” must be observed with exacting detail to obtain the state of righteousness, (Deuteronomy 6:25.).

      Theses verses are quite explicit in that they state, that the Mosaic Law is Not something that can be sliced or diced, with some being chosen to observe like items on a menu, and others being arbitrarily set aside.

      Exodus 19:7,8., 23:13., 24:3,7., Leviticus 18:4,5., 19:37., 20:8. &22., 22:31., 25:18., 26:3., 26:14,15., Numbers 15:22., 15:39,40., Deuteronomy 4:1, 4:4-6., 4:14., 5:1., 5:29., 5:31., 6:1,2., 6:25., 7:11,12., 8:1,2., 11:8., 11:13., 11:22., 13:18., 15:5., 17:19., 11:22., 12:28.,17:19., 19:9., 26:13., 26:16., 26:18., 27:1., 27:26., 28:13., 28:15., 28:45., 28:58., 29:9., 29:29., 30:8., 30:10., 31:5., 31:12., and 32:46.

      Therefore for you to say, “The ONLY law that Christ fulfilled is the shedding of blood for the remission of sins” is in error, for neither you, nor anyone else could provide one solitary verse within Scripture, to validate that claim.

      Here’s a question for all Law Keepers;

      If in Habakkuk 2:24., “the just SHALL LIVE BY his faith”, BUT in Galatians 3:12., those that observe the Mosaic Law, “SHALL LIVE BY the Mosaic Law”, (and by Galatians 3:12. and Romans 14:23. we are told respectively that the “Mosaic Law IS NOT of Faith” and “whatsoever IS NOT of Faith is sin”), how is it possible to be “JUSTIFIED” and “LIVE BY” both at the exact same time?

      Isn’t that virtually impossible?
      That’s like being able to be Ishmael and Isaac at the very same time.

      And if you fully understood Galatians 4:21. through 5:1……. You’d definitely choose to be Isaac.

  4. Matthew 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what REWARD will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be PERFECT, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

    Matthew 6:14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

    When Christ died abolishing the law for shedding blood to forgive sins, He did NOT abolish how we are supposed to live before God. Why would Jesus preach how we are supposed to live in the Sermon on the Mount, and in saying that the Sabbath was made for Man, not Man for the Sabbath, if He was only to abolish it all by dying on the cross? Christ AND Paul both obeyed and followed the Sabbath, as did all of the other disciples. Jesus also followed GOD’s feast days, as did Paul himself.

    God gives REWARDS in Heaven, not just salvation from our sins. But rewards for what? Following His commandments. There will be those in God’s Kingdom who will be lesser than others who actually OBEYED His commandments, but NOT for salvation from our sins, but out of respect and love.

    In Christ we Live
    and OBEY

  5. I got involved in the Hebrew Roots movement seven years ago, I am currently in the transition stage, I left my Messianic congregation and recently attending a Christian church again. I have witnessed how the HR movement is bearing the wrong fruits: quarrels over how to perform certain rituals… this and that, divisions, confusions, hatred towards devoted Christians, and legalism among others. It is also shocking to find out that former Christians who were in the HR movement have converted to Orthodox Judaism and are now denying and mocking Christ.

    I realized I have hurt a number of my Christian friends as the HR movement transformed me into a finger-pointing accuser (Guess who is the main accuser of the Brethren is? None but the fallen angel himself). If one enjoys celebrating the Old Testament feasts then fine, however, it is wrong to ram the Torah down Christians’ throats and accuse the Church as being lawless, Paul and the Apostles never forced a Gentile believer to observe the Torah.

    I thank God how He opened my eyes, I hope those followers of legalistic HR teachings would have their eyes opened as well.

    • Thanks, SG, for your willingness to share a bit of your story here. Be encouraged in your journey:

      1To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: 2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
      3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (from 2 Pet. 1)

      Torah pursuant folks think that there is a moral vacuum outside of the Law, when in reality, God Himself has given us everything we need in Christ to live a godly life. In fact, it is Grace, not Law, that teaches us:

      11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It 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 appearing of the glory 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. (from Tit. 2)

      Grace and peace to you, and know that my prayer is for you to continue to grow in the knowledge and fullness that is found in Christ!
      -JGIG

      • Thank you for your kind words. Greetings of Shalom to you and the visitors of this blog.

        The message of salvation is simple and adding more burdens to make it complicated is unwise, as it is always by grace through faith not of works. Jesus/Yeshua paid it in full, once and for all.

        To those who are still in the Hebrew Roots movement, please read again how Paul rebuked the Galatian Church.

        Galatians 5
        1. Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
        2. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
        3. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
        4. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
        5. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
        6. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

  6. Thank you for doing what you do. People can and should be missionaries in all parts of life and I wrote a post about this. I hope you enjoy and I look forward to reading more of your posts! Thanks for getting the word out there and speaking truth in your blog!

    http://allisonfshepard.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/what-ive-learned-from-my-missionary-husband/

  7. Even Jesus couldn’t keep the Torah of Moses if he was living today, as it requires a Levitical Priesthood of the Order of Aaron interceding for Israel through the Temple work and sacrifices.

  8. Living on Earth today, of course.

  9. Love your site! …Would love to see you reveal what the whole “Law of Christ” entails in the New Testament. …Is it all about “love” (Galatians 6:2; 1 Corinthians 9:19-22; Matthew…or does it include changes that Jesus made to the OT Law to a higher NT Law; i.e., the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus said, “But I say unto you…”?

    Bob L.

    • Hi Pastor Bob, thanks for your kind words and welcome to JGIG!

      The Law of Christ is all about love. If one is loving others, they are not behaving contrary to what God wants for/from them.

      The Sermon on the Mount, preached before the Cross to those born under the Law is useful for teaching and showing us God’s perfect standard. That said, Jesus was absolutely burying Israel in the Law – He was upping the ante, magnifying the Law as the prophets foretold.

      “The Law says, ‘Don’t murder’, but I say unto you, if you even hate your brother, you have already committed murder in your heart!”
      “The Law says, ‘Don’t commit adultery”, but I say unto you, if you even look at another with lust in your heart, you have already committed adultery!”

      Those are some harsh words, along with the plucking out of eyes and the cutting off the offending members of one’s body – Jesus was showing them the hopelessness of life under the Law – they could never measure up – “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.” The standard is perfection.

      Thankfully, Christ is the provision of the perfection that God’s standard requires. The Law makes nothing perfect (Heb. 7), and God, in Christ, has provided a better covenant, built on better promises, which makes us perfect by our Perfect, Permanent High Priest and the power of His indestructible Life \o/!

      Under the commandments of God after the Cross, His requirements become very simple: Believe on the One He has sent, and love one another (1 Jn. 3:23-24).

      Being new to JGIG, you might find Grace or Law? How Then, Shall We Live? to be an interesting read =).

      Grace and peace to you,
      -JGIG

      • Thank you for taking the time to answer my question, JGIG. …Your answer was exactly on the spot as to why Jesus ‘upgraded’ the Mosaic Law with HIs Sermon on the Mount. …Keep on keeping on! …People need to hear the Word of God that you are sharing on your site.

        Pastor Bob

      • Thanks, Pastor Bob, I will =). I’ve been on a long break from new posts here – we’ve had lots on our plate as a family over the past couple of years and are in the process of a major move, but I’ll be back soon enough. As I’ve learned more deeply of God’s Grace, I may also go back through what’s here and ‘knock off some of the rough edges’ in a few posts. All in due time.

        Blessings to you in your ministry!
        -JGIG

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