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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 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.

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Easter and the Spring Feasts – Crumbs in Your Peanut Butter

It’s that time of year, believers.  Concerned family members are telling you to not celebrate the Resurrection of Christ on Easter and are preparing their homes and themselves to observe the Spring Feasts of Israel.

I read the following on the Faith, Grace, and Torah Facebook page last night:

” . . . I am now again suited up, ready to fight, without fear of man, and I will be active again, especially leading into Passover. Judases will arise the closer we get to Passover, as that spirit does every year, and Amalek will arise and is rising again, and I will not make the mistake of leaving one single Amalekite alive, and I will continue to persue and hunt every one of them down and slay them with the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of the ONLY living Elohim/God.”

Let me encourage you that as you interact with the Law-keepers in your life to love them well and to keep pointing them to Christ, His Work, and who they are in Him.

Our walk in Christ is not meant to be a series of battles in a grand war with many enemies.

Christ taught us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us, not to ‘slay them with the Sword of the Spirit’.

NO.

We are to be ambassadors of LIFE by sharing the Truths of the Gospel:

16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

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 people’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.  (from 2 Cor. 5)

And LIFE is what the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ is all about – not only HIS indestructible life, but the New Life imparted to US in Christ.

These are realities in Christ which are indeed worth celebrating \o/ !!!

So to repeat:  As you interact with the Law-keepers in your life,

—> Love them well
—> Keep pointing them to Christ, His Work, and who they are in Him.

Here is a link to an article (can also be found on the Articles Page here at JGIG) that addresses the common arguments regarding the early church and the establishment of the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ, commonly known as Easter.  There are four areas addressed by the article:

Below is a repeat of a post from a couple of years ago regarding the Spring Feasts and our relationship to them in the New Covenant.

Grace and peace to you all who are on the ‘front lines’ with those who choose to ‘do battle’ with you.
_________________________

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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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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14 Responses

  1. Didn’t think your last line was demonstrating much love. You had me until then. Little arrogant maybe even rude. It’s the inspecting the peanut jar comment.

    ‘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.’

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • Jim, it parallels the constant ‘navel-gazing’ that occurs when one is measuring their position with God by the yardstick of the Law.

      We are to examine ourselves to see if we’re in the FAITH. Our focus is to be on Christ, His Work, and who we are in Him. When we rest in the Truths of the Gospel and walk in the newness of life that we have in Christ, sinning becomes less and less in our lives.

      Here’s the last sentence you take issue with: “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.”

      Law turns one’s focus inward: What am I doing to please God, where am I falling short, what do I have to do to make myself right with God . . .

      Grace turns one’s focus outward: How can I express the Love of God to those around me, an active looking for open doors to share the Good News of the Work of Christ with others, the building up of fellow believers in who they are in Christ.

      The perceived self-removal of leaven from one’s life, whether it be crumbs in one’s peanut butter or self-effort of routing sinning from one’s life is a distraction from the reality that is in Christ which is that in Christ we are UNLEAVENED:

      7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch — as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. (from 1 Cor. 5)

      In Christ, we are cleansed. It’s a done deal. To go about trying to rid one’s self, even symbolically, of leaven that isn’t there is a waste of time. Our time as believers is better spent finding ways of sharing the Good News of the Work of Christ and loving those around us.

      That’s the point of that last sentence.

  2. Now you’ve done it. All this pontificating about peanut butter! Now I have an irresistible urge to grab a jar of Jif, slather it over a bunch of Ritz crackers–or no! chocolate graham crackers!–and pig out. How many tassels must I wear (and for how long) to make up for that?

    • Well, law does arouse our sinful passions . . . ;o)

    • I know you’re joking, but just in case you didn’t know the wearing of Tassels ISN’T for the forgiveness of sins, you CAN’T receive or lose your salvation by wearing Tassels or by the lack thereof. However, in all things let’s let the Word of Our Creator speak; Numbers 15:38-39 (In whichever version you choose) talks about Tassels.

      Now, I have a question, something I’ve been wondering about for a very long time………what verse in the Bible changes the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday? Seems reasonable to me, if y’all are going to attack something we can clearly show in the Bible, y’all ought to be able to answer our questions about YOUR beliefs (with Bible verses only).

      Blessings all the way from the equator!

      • I think they know, and yes, they were joking =o).

        There is an article here at JGIG regarding the wearing of tassels, however, if you want to take a look: Tzit Tzit For the Believer In Christ?

        And no one is ‘attacking’ the Sabbath. Lots of content on that here at JGIG, as well. Go to the Articles tab at the top of the site, scroll down to ‘S’, and there are links to several articles available to click on there.

        Grace and peace to you,
        -JGIG

      • JGIG, (I replied to my own comment, because I can’t seem to figure out how to reply to yours below) I read the “Tzit Tzit For the Believer in Christ” article, I plan on rereading it before replying.

        Thanks for posting my comment, wasn’t sure which comments count as “unpostable”.

        Blessings!

      • No problem =o). If you hit reply on the thread in the thread (hope that made sense), it should just post below in that particular part of the conversation.

        And if you have any doubts about whether or not a comment is ‘postable’, take a peek at the Comments Policy here at JGIG.

  3. May the Heavenly Father forgive your sins and help you understand the Truth.

  4. Hello, I really enjoy your site and I found it very edifying in a trying time. I check in here occasionally because I have a friend who is caught up in this movement at the moment.

    I would like to share article about the origins of Easter with you. It’s written from a Catholic perspective, and it contains scholarship I’ve not seen anywhere else.

    Is Easter Pagan? The Eostre-Easter Connection

    http://www.unamsanctamcatholicam.com/apologetics/528-eostre-easter-pagan.html

    Also, Albert McIlhenny, who runs a stimulating apologetics website mostly devoted to debunking anti-Christian myths, wrote a brief essay on the subject of the Hebrew Roots movement that you also might enjoy. He sums up the movement very succintly.

    http://labarum.net/root-of-the-problem/

    Thanks for your writing.

  5. My name is Tammy and I’m a messianic Jew. I believe in Yeshua, he is my Messiah. I celebrate Gods feast days as I’m commanded. I have friends that are Christians and some even celebrate the Passover with us. And lately I’ve been reading how Christians bash the Hebrew Roots Movement and I’m just curious why? I don’t know much about it, but I would like to set something straight. First if you knew Hebrew, you would know that Torah doesn’t mean law…..that is a horrible translation, but it does mean teaching. The Bible was written by the Jewish people to Jewish people, plus the Gentiles and after Yeshua died and became our Passover Lamb, that never meant you were to stop Gods feast days. When reading your Bible you must realize who wrote it and to who and when. Yeshua is the word made flesh and he dwelt among us, Yeshua is Torah. What do you think the apostle taught the people when they went out speaking to the Jews and Gentiles? They taught the Torah, they taught that Yeshua is the living word, the one written about in the Torah and the Tanakh. Also, ask yourself why the apostle also celebrated the festivals if Yeshua got rid of them. Yeshua came that we may all become “one” body, “echad” in him, as he and the Father is echad, that means Jews and the ones grafted in. I believe we must all become one body for Yeshua to return. I also believe that the evil one will cause separation as he has always done. Everyone needs to focus on Yeshua, and how much He loves us all…..so let’s not try to fight over theology, just love your neighbor as yourself.

    • Hi Tammy,

      I have no problem with folks celebrating their Jewish heritage and celebrating the Feasts of Israel. The Feasts of Israel were never given to or meant for Gentiles, however, and some Gentile Christians are now preaching that obedience to the Law (or instructions or teaching, if you prefer), or you don’t really love God, aren’t really saved, or worse, that you’ll lose your salvation!

      Here’s the thing: The Law was NEVER meant for Gentiles. The New Covenant was meant for Israel, and they and Gentiles were invited to enter in by faith in Christ and His Work. When one enters into Christ, they die to the Law (Rom. 7) and live unto Christ, bearing His Fruit.

      Yeshua is NOT Torah; Yeshua is GOD. Do you believe that Christ is God manifest in the flesh – Son of God and Son of man? We as believers, Jews or Gentiles, are grafted into Christ, Who is God. We are not grafted into Torah (the ministry of death, according to 2 Cor. 3!).

      Your last sentence sums up who we are in Christ nicely – focus on Him and love one another. If the HRM did that, this site would not exist!

      Grace and peace,
      -JGIG

  6. We are not under law. That’s the big phrase that gets thrown around. I agree we are not under law. We are not under law for salvation, we are not under law for pleasing God, we are not under law for any of these things. We are under grace for salvation, and we are clean before God. However, by this grace, and by our faith, the obedience to the law results in righteousness and sanctification. The law is necessary. When Paul talks about not being under the law, he is referring to not being under the law for salvation and acceptance. He’s trying to deter the idea that through what we can do, we can get to the kingdom without faith in Christ.

    Romans 3:31 says, “Do we, then, nullify the law by our faith? By no means! Rather we uphold the law.”

    So in our faith in Christ, we can now follow the commandments of God. The two greatest commandments sum up the entirety of the law.

    Love God. 1 John 5:3 says, “This is love for God: obeying His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome.” This isn’t referring to just the Ten Commandments. If what Paul says is true, that if I break one law, I’m guilty of breaking all, then we cannot nitpick what laws apply to us and which ones don’t. We either keep the whole thing, or we throw it all out.

    Let’s pay attention to Ezekiel 40-48. It describes the construction of the Third Temple, (not yet constructed, which means these prophesies are unfulfilled), it discusses the return of a Levitical priesthood, and the return of sin offerings and burnt offerings. When we say that the law is done away with, we then assume that Ezekiel is a false prophet here. He is clearly detailing certain laws and regulations, coming from divine revelation from God, and is recording them in a prophecy that hasn’t been fulfilled yet. We don’t need the law? Oh yes we do. Or else these parts of prophecy don’t apply.

    Jeremiah 31:31-34. Details the terms of the New Covenant. God specifically says that He will “put His law in our hearts”. The covenant is made with Israel, which means that when we accept Christ, we are grafted in to Israel. (Romans 11). If we are not, then this covenant doesn’t apply to us. More importantly, if the law doesn’t apply, then the terms of the New Covenant are meaningless.

    • You say that obedience to Law results in righteousness and sanctification, yet Scripture clearly states that righteousness is a gift from God in Christ and that sanctification is His work, not ours (see Romans 3, Hebrews 7-10).

      Furthermore, Scripture tells us that those in Christ have died to the Law and that Law does not produce righteousness, but in fact that “. . . sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead.” (see Romans 7)

      In context, Paul is saying that we uphold the Law for the perfect standard that it presents – showing us our inability to be righteous before a perfect God, and as a result, showing us our need for the gift of righteousness in Christ. Romans 3 is completely clear on this issue, and you are ignoring its context wholly.

      The Fruit of Christ in us is not commandment-keeping, but Fruit-bearing. And the Fruit of the Spirit is not to point us back to Law, in fact, in Galatians 5, where the Fruit of the Spirit is revealed, Paul makes clear that “if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.” Yes, such a clear statement requires parsing on Law-keepers’ parts to re-define what ‘under the Law’ means. Yet Paul is clear – we, as believers in Christ have died to, been severed from, have been completely removed from any part of the Law and have been joined to Christ IN ORDER to bear fruit unto God (see Romans 7). You cannot be ‘under’ something you are dead to.

      You seem to be saying that in Christ, believers are able to keep the Law completely. You admit that if we break any part of it, we break it all in the same comment, so one must ask: Do you believe in sinless perfection? You never sin? Ever? Because the Law requires perfection, as you stated. So where does that leave the believer who sins from time to time (as we all do)?

      Regarding Ezekiel 40-48, what you detail there is one interpretation of the passage. That interpretation does not take into account the Perfect, Permanent High Priesthood of Christ, however. The Temple with its ordinances is NEVER coming back. There will be no return of the Levitical Priesthood, for Scripture tells us clearly, “5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.” (from 1 Tim. 2)

      Sin and burnt offerings are never coming back, either, as Christ was the final, perfect, once-for-all sacrifice for sin (see Hebrews chapters 7-10). You can read more about that here: Millennial Prophecy: Measuring Unrevealed Prophecies in Light of Revealed Truths

      Jeremiah 31 does detail the terms of the New Covenant – and it’s all promises of “I WILL”. Complete GRACE. The Law that He puts on our hearts? Not the codified laws given at Sinai, but the Law of Love. Is the covenant made with Israel? Yes – the Covenant is NEW for them, replacing the Old, but for Gentiles, it is the ONLY Covenant – and all – Jews and Gentiles alike, enter in by faith. Gentiles are not grafted into Israel when they believe on Christ, they are grafted into CHRIST. You can read more about that here: Hebrew Roots Movement – Believers are Grafted Into and Become Israel? Um . . . No.

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