• 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 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.

    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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  • Broken Links – UGH

    Do you find it frustrating when you're directed to a link that does not exist? Me too! My apologies for any broken links you may find here.

    JGIG occasionally links to to sites that sometimes move or remove content, forums that periodically cull threads, sites/posters that appear to 'scrub' content from their sites (or YouTube posts, pdf files, etc.) when that content receives negative attention, and others that over time simply cease to exist.

    Please let me know via the 'Contact JGIG' drop-down menu item under the 'About' tab at the top of this page if you come across a link that is broken so that I can try to repair or remove it. Please include the name of the post/article where you found the broken link as well as the link itself. You may be able to find content specified by doing a search and viewing a relocated or cached page/post/video.

    Thanks,
    - JGIG

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Testimonies

This page is dedicated to testimonies of those who have once been a part of the Hebrew Roots Movement / Messianic Movement, but by the Grace of God have come to understand their freedom in Christ, rooted and established in love.

If you have a testimony you’d like to share about coming out of the Hebrew Roots Movement (or variation of the HRM), please email me at joyfullygrowingingrace@gmail dot com.

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If you’re someone in the HRM or a related Law-keeping sect 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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6 Responses

  1. I have to tell you of the joy I have found IN my newly, almost eight years ago now, found Hebrew Roots. I have not left my love of Yeshua and have not lost my freedom. In fact, I have never been more free than in my understanding of the Torah walk of faith in Messiah. Our mutual Messiah was, after all, a Torah observant Hebrew Himself. He never nailed Torah to a tree, but the curse of the law- death. Prior to Yeshua’s sacrifice on the cross, only unintentional sin was made atonement for by sacrifice. Intentional sin was punishable by death. Yeshua took the sting of death, being able to “atone” for all sin, even intentional sins. If Yeshua was 100% Torah observant in his earthly walk, and if we as disciples are attempting to become like our master, why would we not also want to walk in the ways of Torah? I am not advocating any extra biblical practices of Judiaism, just the bible all the way. Yeshua was the One who gave Moshe the Torah on Sinai, why would He change His mind? God is the same yesterday, today and forever. I believe some have misunderstood the real walk of the bible believing followers of Yeshua. Hope I haven’t offended and that you will feel free to return any comments to me. Nothing canned, just from your heart. In Him, Shalom.

  2. Hi Carolyn –

    Living life in a Torah-observant fashion is certainly your choice. I don’t take issue with that in the spirit of Romans 14.

    The issue I have with the “Hebrew Roots Movement” is the false doctrine that permeates the movement coupled with the ascertion that all believers are under the Law.

    You wrote:

    Our mutual Messiah was, after all, a Torah observant Hebrew Himself. He never nailed Torah to a tree, but the curse of the law- death. Prior to Yeshua’s sacrifice on the cross, only unintentional sin was made atonement for by sacrifice. Intentional sin was punishable by death. Yeshua took the sting of death, being able to “atone” for all sin, even intentional sins.

    Two things about that –
    1) You can’t contextually back up the statement that Jesus didn’t abolish the Law – “nail Torah to a tree” as you put it (see Ephesians 2).
    2) Sin, intentional or not, is not categorized in Scripture. Sin is sin . . . is sin. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). And Jesus didn’t just atone for sin . . . He erased it! (Isaiah 53:11, Phil. 3:19)

    You wrote:
    If Yeshua was 100% Torah observant in his earthly walk, and if we as disciples are attempting to become like our master, why would we not also want to walk in the ways of Torah? I am not advocating any extra biblical practices of Judiaism, just the bible all the way. Yeshua was the One who gave Moshe the Torah on Sinai, why would He change His mind?

    Jesus observed Torah before the Cross. It is not necessary to observe Torah under the New Covenant established by Jesus (God in the flesh). Did God change His mind? No . . . He let us know the New Covenant was coming in Jeremiah 31 =o). And the New Covenant fulfills the promise given in Genesis at the Fall.

    You wrote:
    I believe some have misunderstood the real walk of the bible believing followers of Yeshua.

    I don’t misunderstand your walk, I believe it to be in error according to the whole of Scripture. I don’t mean to sound harsh . . . it’s not my intent. It’s just that Scripture is abundantly clear in the proper place of the Law of Moses in relation to the Law of Christ. As for living a Torah obedient life – it is simply not possible. Setting aside our inherent inability to do it anyway, there are some practical impossibilities when it comes to “keeping the Law” after the completed work of Christ at the Cross. Let me ask you a few questions:

    I understand that you believe that Jesus was the sacrifice for sin, but do you offer sacrifices for purification and ceremonial purposes as instructed by Torah? If so, where did you find a Priest and a Temple in which to offer those sacrifices? Do the males in your household journey to Jerusalem 3 times per year for their required attendance at the “pilgrimage” Feasts? Are you very careful to keep the dietary and slaughtering rules for the meats that you eat? Are you sure that no unclean meat has ever touched your utensils, pots, pans, and stove? Do you stone the believers that you know who don’t keep the Sabbath? I could of course go on, but I think I’ve made the point.

    And I get that you don’t view the Law as a means for justification – you merely seek to honor God and His commandments. But in His Word He says things like, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (James 2:10), and “All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.'” (Galatians 3:10) How is that honoring to God, to take the Law that He gave as a whole and pick and choose the things that are “do-able” and set the rest aside? It seems to me to be more of a mockery of His provision of the New Covenant, and also a mockery of His gift of the simplicity of the Gospel – purchased by His suffering and blood.

    Jesus said love God, love others, make disciples. If you do those things, you have “done” the Law. Simple.

    Blessings and prayers,
    – JGIG

  3. David Niles Jr December 1 at 7:23pm
    Mike,
    My journey out of the Messianic/Hebrew Roots/Sabbatarian Movement.

    I became a Christian about 9 yrs ago. I was saved in a charismatic church not too far from where I lived at the time (Georgia). It was a miricle that I became a Christian; I couldn”t stand Christians, and laughed at people when they tried to share there faith with me. After I got saved I moved to Texas where I was studying the Bible like crazy, reading it day and night, trying understand what happened to me. I was reading the Book of Romans and had read where Yeshua (Jesus) was Jewish. I”ve probably read that verse a hundred times, but it didn”t hit me until then. WOW, Jesus was Jewish, he went to the synagugue, read from the Torah, ate His Last Supper, or Passover, with His disciples. I was in awe, and wanted to learn more about Jesus jewishness. I was good friends with an older Christian woman, and was telling all that I had read in my studies in the Book of Romans. I told her I wanted to go to a synagugue, to see how Jewish people worship. She said there was a messianic congregation in town, and that would be a good place to start. So, I started going to some of the services there. While I was there I heard from different people how the traditional Christian holidays (Easter, Christmas) were in fact pagan!! And that if Christians celebrated them, it was an abomination to God. I thought to myself “I don”t want to dishonor God” so I started researching the orgins of the Easter and Christmas. I went to my local library and read everything I could on the subjects, and was convinced I could no longer celebrate them. I stopped celebrating the traditional holidays, and was told that Christians had to “keep the feasts”, the Feasts of the Lord found in Lev 23. I started keeping the Feasts. Then the issue of Sunday versus Saturday came up; I was told by various people within the messianic congregation that Saturday was the correct day, not Sunday. I researched at the public libraray where the early church meet on Saturday, and I started worshippng on Saturday. So, I started reading materials by the Seventh day Adventists, and Garner Ted Armstrong and the Sabbatarians. Then I was told that eating ham was wrong, and should eat only clean meats (found in Lev 11), and stopped eating ham, and ham products, immediatly. I thought that I had arrived, I knew what I was doing was right, and that those who didn”t beleive like me were wrong. I unfortunatly was boastful and proud, and would convince others than they too should do as is I did.

    But, thru my pride I had alot of sin in my life; anger, lust, bitterness, unforgiveness that had crept in and I hadn”t repented of. I felt I had the truth, and that those who didn”t “keep the law” were were wrong.

    I had started going to the various meetings, and would hear statemenst like “I don”t know who this “jesus” is, but know who Yeshua is”. Some people started refering to Jesus as “Yahshua”, and called “Yahweh”, and wouldn”t say “Lord” “God” or “Jesus”, fearing that if they did, they were cursing at God.

    I started to slowly have doubts about the theology of the Messianic/Hebrew Roots/Sabbatarian movement. A good friend said he had a book that he wanted to give me. My friend gave me a book called “Messianic Judaism is not Christianity; A Loving Call to Unity” by Stan Telchin. In the book, Stan Telchin discuss problems with the Messianic movement, and its inefficiantcy in sharing Yeshua with the Jewish people. I read the book with an open mind and found Telchin’s arguements to be quite correct. The theology of the Messianic movement was very flawed, and didn”t look at the Bible in its whole context. I also at that time received a copy of Lamplighter magazine; they had done a expose, so to speak, on the Seventh Day Adventist. I read that as well with an open mind, and found that David Reagan was right on his assessment of the SDA. They where in fact a cult, and from sermons/teachings that I received from or what I heard, that anyone who didn”t “keep the Sabbath” had the mark of the beast and were not saved.

    It was then that I started having doubts on whether we as beleivers had to “keep the law”. So, I was constantly praying about it, and was reading the Bible to see what did it have to say on the subject. It was thru the Holy Spirit’s leading that I read Galations, Romans, Hebrews again, and read what The Bible, and not man, had to say. I was shocked when in Galations it says that the Torah/Law was a “tutor/schoolmaster to bring us to Christ”. I then pulled my Strong’s Concordance out and look up that word. The word “tutor is “pedigugue” which in Roman culture it was a role that a slave had, and its only goal was to bring children to school and back (loose paraphrase, sorry).

    It was then that I started to see things in a different light. If we as beleivers are under a New Covenant, then the conditions of the Old Covenant don”t apply in the same context; we are to following Jesus” teachings as way of life and practice; that we have a new way, that Jesus said that the Torah/Law was fullfilled in (a) loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, (b) loving our neighbors as ourselves (Matt 22:36-40) the way of the Spirit (Romans 7:6), that we are letter of Christ, the Law written on our hearts (2Cor 3:3), we are under a new covenant; the old covenant is obselete (Heb 8). I saw the Law of God in a whole new light; we are to love God’s Law, for its holy, just, and good. But, our love for the Torah cannot escape the fact that mankind has sinned against God, that ALL have broken the Law, and are found guily of sin, and have to give an account of what we have done (Romans 2-3).
    But, thru Jesus the Messiah, I am set free from sin, and longer under the chains of sin and death. While we do have our flesh to deal with, the Bible says we are to deny ourselves and follow the the great Rabbi from Nazereth, and only then, will we have fullfillment in life.

    I know that God is merciful, and he is starting what only He can finish in me (Phil 1:6). I praise God that he has mercy on me, despite my pride and sin. Looking back, I realize that the LORD had his hand on me the whole time, and was guilding me when I didn”t see the whole picture. I can only thank him for that.

    While I was coming out of Sabbatarian beleifs, I was struggling with guilt. “I would constantly think “Is God mad at me?” and struggled with the idea that I wasn”t keeping the Sabbath, and was sinning against God. It was very strange not to be “keeping the sabbath” after yrs of doing so. It was a blessing in transistioning from cultic, legalistic beleifs to awalk rooted in the Word, and faith in Jesus.

    As of 3yrs ago, I left the Messianic/Hebrew Roots/Sabbatarian beliefs behind, and it was the best thing I ever did!!!!

    In Jesus
    David Niles
    Romans 7:1-6

  4. Hey, you guys, I know you are sincerely attempting to help us Torah observant Hebrew roots believers out by pointing us to the New Testiment scriptures. As Timothy has said, All scripture is God-breathed.. It is interesting to note that the Messiah taught TORAH only. The Torah and the Prophets/writings were the only available scriptures to teach from. Yehushua taught torah and only torah. So, by the way, did all his diciples. I know you must have been wounded by off the wall teaching such as Armstrongism, etc…I refer one only to the scriptures themselves, as they will prove themselves without outside comparison. One only needs to compare the original language in which they were penned the Hebrew. Paleo Hebrew is even more enlightening. Sorry you have suffered. I am blessed to have studied under a sound teacher and after 15 years, my faith, freedom and joy are increased 100fold, compared to the 52 years I struggled in the world and in Christianity….Different strokes for different folks. We will all get there if we do what the Master told us to in John 14:15 – “If you love me, obey my commandments”. I do love Him so I do all I can to obey His commandments for my life. As a result of my obedience, I am happy, healthy, disease free and a peace at 68 years young. Just my take. Love in Yehushua (Jesus), CarolAnn

    • Hi CarolAnn,

      Thanks for your comment – you say you are so blessed and happy to be under the Law. We have only your word on that, but I must ask . . .

      Tell us, how was Jerusalem for the Spring Feasts? I hear it’s lovely there this time of year! Are you planning on heading back for the Fall Feasts? Does your Torah community sacrifice animals at the appointed times (it was being done by Israel before the Temple was built in 1 Kings 3), and stoning Sabbath-breakers and others who commit sins which bring the death penalty (see Deut. 17:2-7)? If you’re not doing those things, you are not obeying the Law as God gave it, but ‘keeping’ a law of your own creation.

      There are bunches more commandments in the Old Covenant that apply to you that you’re not keeping. How do I know? Because no one before you ever has. If righteousness could come by the Law, why would Christ need to come (see Gal. 2:19-21)? The Law was set aside, for it made nothing perfect, and a better hope was introduced by which we draw near to God (see Hebrews 7).

      God’s Law requires 100% obedience, 100% of the time (see Exodus 23:13, Deuteronomy 8:1, Deuteronomy 12:27-28, Jeremiah 7:21-26, Joshua 1:6-9, Gal. 3:10, and James 2:10).

      If you were trying to keep God’s Law as He gave it, and not some law of your own or the ‘sound’-teacher-you’ve-studied-under’s creation, you would be identifying with those who have shared their testimonies here. They came to the ends of themselves because they recognized that they could not keep the Law as God gave it, and the Law did its job: it pointed them to CHRIST.

      I hope you forgive what you will be sure to perceive as a harsh tone. I’m merely echoing what Paul says in frustration when he penned, “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?!” in Galatians 3.

      To the specifics in your comment: Galatians 4 tells us that “God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law . . .” Jesus taught the Law to those under the Law because the Work of the Cross, the Resurrection, the Ascension, and His Perfect, Permanent High Priesthood had not yet been accomplished.

      Jesus did proclaim the New Covenant, however, even while magnifying the Law (making it even harder to keep – bringing heart motives over mere fleshly obedience into the picture). The disciples, after His Resurrection, taught the Gospel, the Good News, of Christ: They proclaimed His Life, Death, Resurrection, Ascension, and Perfect, Permanent High Priesthood everywhere they went. They told people to believe and love. A simple reading of the New Covenant Scriptures will verify this. And the prophets point to the Work of and New Covenant of Christ. Reading those Scriptures for what they actually say and reading them through the lens of the Work of Christ leads one to Him and resting in Him, abiding in Him – and bearing the Fruit that His Spirit produces. The New Covenant is all about resting; abiding; bearing Fruit, not about carnal obedience to edicts and regulations. Are there exhortations for moral living in the New Covenant Scriptures? Absolutely, but they are not LAW. Law carries with it condemnation if it is disobeyed; there is therefore now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (from Rom. 8). 2 Cor. 5 says that in Christ, God is not counting our sins against us. Under the Old Covenant, He absolutely did.

      When Christ said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments”, He wasn’t talking about the commandments given at Sinai. He defined what He was talking about when He said, “A new commandment I give to you: Love one another as I have loved you.” (See John 13-16)

      Then Jesus went on to ratify the New Covenant with His Own Blood, and became the Perfect, Permanent High Priest of that same New Covenant. To live according to the Old Covenant is to live with no High Priest representing you on matters of the Law; Jesus is of the wrong tribe for that, and it would be a violation of the very Law you claim to keep for Jesus to mediate that same Law. This is why Galatians and James tell you that to live by the Law is to live under a curse; there is no more sacrifice for you under the Law – it is an obsolete way by which to relate to God – before OR after salvation. Thankfully, if you are truly in Christ, you have died to the Law, even if you don’t realize it! (See Rom. 7:4-6)

      As for the Paleo-Hebrew angle, yeah, no . . . Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek are the languages of the Scriptures; LOTS of evidence to support that. You’ve been given information that’s manipulated languages to support false doctrines. You can read more about Greek Primacy and Hellenism in first century Israel HERE. And about Hebrew and its history in the Bible HERE.

      Finally, I just want to clarify that I’ve never been wounded by Armstrongism, the Hebrew Roots Movement, or other Law-keeping sects. They did cross my path, but simply going back to what I knew the Scriptures plainly state and keeping my mind and heart firmly anchored in Who Jesus is, What He came to do, What that actually accomplished, and who I am in Him kept me grounded as I examined the teachings I was being presented with. And I found them to be lacking, and started writing about it. And here we are.

      2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. (from Rom. 10)

      You summed up your comment by saying, “As a result of MY obedience . . . ”

      I admire your zeal, but it is without knowledge. You have bought into a false belief system that teaches you to establish your own righteousness via Law instead of relying on God’s righteousness as a gift in Christ (see also Rom. 5, 2 Cor. 5:16-21).

      My prayer is that you would go back and read the Law as God gave it, try to keep THAT, and let it do its job in leading you to the end of yourself and into the Grace of Christ and who you are in Him.

      Grace and peace to you,
      -JGIG

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