Monday, July 18, 2011

More Musings on the Law (Part 2)

In my last post, I spoke about the new covenant law that we are now under.  There are still a few things swimming around in my head that I would like to put down in writing.

For folks who try to keep the Sinai law today, I would like to ask:  Do you make the three annual pilgramages to Jerusalem that the law requires?  What about all the animal sacrifices that are required under Sinai law?  Do you purify yourselves following childbirth as required by the law, and then offer the appropriate animal sacrifices?  Do you go to a priest when you have any kind of skin rash?  If you do have such a rash, do you yell out "Unclean, unclean!" to anyone who passes by, and do you live separately?  If you ever have mold in your house, do you go through all the purifying rituals and then have a priest come and inspect it?  Do you follow all the requirements regarding bodily discharges?  Do you avoid cutting your hair at the sides or clip your beard?  Have you built parapets around your roof, so that if someone falls from it you won't be guilty of bloodshed?  Have you ever worn clothes that are woven with wool and linen?

James 2:10 says, "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it."

Do you see how impossible it is?  Yeshua HAD to fulfill all of them, so that when he created One New Man out of Jew and Gentile, all could live together in the body of Messiah - the Kingdom of God - living by the Spirit instead of the law.

Romans 3:21-23 says "But now apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus the Messiah to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"

Ephesians 3:6 says, "This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Messiah Jesus"

Galatians 3:28 says "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Messiah Jesus."

Let me be clear on one thing:  Jews are not required to become Gentiles in order to come to faith in their own Messiah!  They should never be required to give up the feasts they celebrate (since they all point to the Messiah anyway), or be forced to celebrate the pagan-rooted holidays of Christmas or Easter or to eat ham.  Remember, Jewish believers in Messiah also have the privilege of being led by the Spirit.  Besides, who are among those that they are going to witness to?  Most likely family members and other Jewish people.

When witnessing to different groups of people, we would be wise to follow the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:  "To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Messiah's law), so as to win those not having the law.  To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.

(Part 3, written three years later, can be found here)

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