My wife read to me out of Facebook this morning about a bible study that was going to be held with a focus on the book of Romans and as part of it a look at four of the six hundred thirteen Torah instructions. A point was made that these were not to be understood in the context of gaining salvation but in the context of knowing how to live life rightly before God our Father.
How important this kind of teaching. We get hung up on the term “Torah Compliance”. What’s really going on though is the resistance in us to the idea that there are laid out rules of conduct for our lives that relate to God and to one another and we don’t want anyone telling us what’s right and wrong. We want to decide what those rules are for ourselves.
You know it gets tiring, all the discussion back and forth about, are we to be Torah compliant or not.
Everyone who has come to the saving knowledge of the Lord, believing in, trusting in, being obedient to Yeshua entering into covenant with Him has started down the road to being Torah compliant. It’s inescapable.
I’m not talking about just the ten commandments. All, and I do mean all, of the others apply as well, in principle and where applicable, according to the plain words as they are written. Yeshua made that clear when he said that the thoughts of the heart and mind can condemn us even if our actions are correct, if in our hearts and minds we have entertained what the commandments forbid.
“…Do not murder, and that anyone who commits murder will be subject to judgment. But I tell you that anyone who nurses anger against his brother will be subject to judgment…” Matthew 5:21-22 CJB.
And there are others in that chapter that expand on the depth of the plain reading of the Word, that there are principled foundations for all the plain written wording we read. We all know them.
But folks want to argue over what applies and what doesn’t. And the tact that is taken is “Well I want to know to understand exactly what is required. Then I’ll do it.” What ends up happening is we justify putting off a decision till later, you know, when we really understand what He wants, oh?
It appears to me, and this from self inspection, that we are “excuse making”, no better than the man or woman who is not in covenant with Yeshua and the Father.
The nonbeliever refuses to give his or her life to their creator because it means surrendering and submitting to a will not their own, accepting standards of goodness and right living another has decided for them. And the example we believers set doesn’t always give them a desire to know God.
We as believers, use a legalistic approach to Instruction interpretation that hinders, if not brings to a halt, obedience, and suffer resultant half heartedness, ears that are going deaf and eyes that are going blind.
No excuses for either of us.
Yahweh has planted a seed in our hearts, given us His Word and His Spirit. If that seed is to grow and flourish and bear fruit (that’s us) we have to be willing to let Him have His way with us.
Ours is to follow His Ways whether or not we understand, and there is always some understanding to be had in all His commands. We may not know the fullness of it but that doesn’t exempt us from the doing.
Reverence, fear, and love of God is a command. Sacrifices are still required. We are washed clean by the sacrifice for sin offering Yeshua made, but the peace offerings and love offerings are still in effect even though they don’t involve blood. Justice is to be pursued and given. Responsibility, accountability and restitution for our actions towards one another hasn’t been done away with. Compassion and protectiveness towards those who can’t defend themselves, those who are in real need is our responsibility. We are not to “close our hand” to them.
The commands for the priest, the man, the woman all are founded in some way on an underlying principle and are required in some form that can satisfy the intent, even in these days.
In the process of being Torah compliant we will encounter our lack of understanding. We will realize how strong the flesh really is.
We will find ourselves on a path that we cannot negotiate successfully without Him.
We will need to respond to that self “insufficiency” by drawing closer and relying on Him.
We will learn as we go just what a beautiful God He is and our actions will come to be done with a heart of love for Him, hard as it may be on the flesh.
“If only you would heed my mitzvoth!
Then your peace would flow like a river,
and your righteousness like the waves of the sea. Isaiah 48:18
Peace and righteousness, peace He gives, and your own righteousness that results in the transforming of ourselves, the renewing of our minds, and dare I say, hearts, that we become more and more like Him who made us in and, to be in, His image, added to the perfect righteousness given which we could not do on our own.
There is a Way;
Yeshua first, then Torah… or whatever you want to call it.
The sooner we relax our hold on self and tighten our grip on Him, the sooner that peace will come, the closer we will get to Him.
Father, may we be close to You…please.
Tend the garden of our hearts and the seed You have planted,
as we receive the light and water of Your Living Word, Yeshua and Spirit.
We seek peace and righteousness you promise and provide.
We seek to satisfy You and gain Your approval.
Open our minds and tender our hearts towards Your commands and instructions which You have given.
And may we dwell in Your house forever and ever.
In Yeshua’s name we pray,
May God’s love be in us all.