Friday, March 26, 2010

Grace vs. Law

Enjoy this article from First Fruits of Zion. It digs into whether or not Christians should still uphold the laws of the Torah, now that our Messiah has come. I feel I really benefited from it and hope you feel the same! You can find many more insightful articles on their site:

Thought for the Week:

Things get backward if we start to believe that we must keep God's Law in order to be saved. Instead, we should keep God's Law because we are saved.


This week's Torah portion contains a lot of laws. Exodus 21-23 reads like an ancient legal code. Of the 613 commandments that the sages traditionally derive from the Torah, more than fifty of them are found in this week's portion.

For some reason, many Christian teachers seem to view the laws of the Torah as if they are a bad thing. It is commonly taught that the law is the opposite of grace. You might hear someone say, "We are no longer under the law. We are under grace." The implication is that since we have received the Messiah, we need not concern ourselves with the laws of the Old Testament. We can call this idea "Grace vs. Law."

Let's think about the Grace vs. Law idea. What do we mean when we say that we are not under the law? Does that mean we do not have to keep God's rules? For example, does it mean that we can commit adultery and theft? Of course not. No one would say that. So what does it mean?

The Grace vs. Law concept is derived from the writings of Paul. In his epistles, it seems that Paul pits the two in opposition to each other. He often says things like "Before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law" (Galatians 3:23) and "If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law" (Galatians 5:18). One might misunderstand these statements to mean that Christians do not need to keep God's rules. Of course, that would be absurd. Paul realized that some people might misunderstand his teaching, so he cautioned us not to suppose that grace gives us free license to sin against God.

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? (Romans 6:1-2)

Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law. (Romans 3:31)

If Paul was not teaching believers that they did not have to keep God's rules, what was he talking about? In Paul's day, many of the Jewish believers taught that before Gentiles could be part of the kingdom of heaven, they needed to become Jewish. The idea that a Gentile must become Jewish before being saved is what Paul calls "being under the law." Paul believed that Gentiles became sons of Abraham and part of the people of God through faith in Messiah. They did not need to earn that status by becoming legally Jewish. They did not need to first come"under the law" in order to enter the kingdom.

The Bible does not actually teach the idea of Grace vs. Law. Grace is God's free gift of salvation for those who believe in his Son. Law is His loving instruction for how His people should live. Grace vs. Law is a false dichotomy. They are not opposed to each other. They are meant to work hand in hand.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Latest...

As of late, as you probably have noticed, my life has been rather blog-deficient. As we have gotten rid of our Internet connection, I haven't had too much time to blog and comment. So, thank you all for understanding! Really, I'm not trying to be impolite, just not making to the library as often as I'd like to. :)

In the meantime, I've been spending more of my time each day doing school, as I've had a few subjects added to my usual list. One of the "extras" has been reading through the Uncle Eric Series, which is somewhat of a law/economics course. Very good reading material. It's not very challenging reading level wise, but it certainly challenges me in my law and government views! I'm going through the two-book series about the two World Wars, and am feeling like I'm getting a lot out of them. Highly recommended!

Passover is in just one week, and we're hastily finishing up our cleaning. Exodus 12:15 states that we should get all of the unleavened bread out of our home before Passover starts, and my mom likes to make sure that commandment is thoroughly obeyed. :-) Our system is to go through each room in the house; shop-vacing, organizing, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser wiping and ultimately get the room back into tip-top shape. Katherine and I were just talking about how interesting it is that many people are currently spring cleaning. Most likely there's a connection...

I recently participated in a talent show as well, which took lots of preparation time. I had much fun, though, and definitely learned from the experience. The more I sing, the more I love singing. :-)

So what's been going on with all of you? I haven't been able to check up on all the blogs, but it's

nice to hear from you!