Sunday, November 18, 2012
Torah Keeping Christianity
A deeply personal testimony regarding Keeping Torah as a professing Christian
It is time I shared something as I feel heavily led to do so. Part of me is reluctant as I know it many will passionately disagree with this writing. It has to do with Torah observance. Some of you may not even know what I am speaking about. You may think that it is for the “Jewish people” only. However, you may not realize that a large and very much growing crowd of Christians are changing their ways to keep Torah as well as attempting to keep their faith in Christ at the same time. The basic idea is that the Old Testament laws are not done away with and we are still required to keep it as a fruit of salvation.
Depending on your Biblical knowledge and background you may say that sounds crazy. You might agree. It depends on where you are at in your walk and experience. I can say I have seen it both ways in my life. For a period of about a 1 to 1 ½ years, several years ago, my husband I attempted Torah observance. First I should add that it was I who introduced and convinced my dear husband into the concept. That alone was a misstep as it is not my place and role to play Miss spiritual leader of the home.
Anyway, we did do this. In fact we were most passionately convinced it was the correct thing to do. So much so, we changed how we lived our lives in a major way. We observed Sabbath in a strict sense. We observed it on the 7th day(Saturday). We didn’t eat ‘unclean’ meats. We observed physical cleanliness laws as best we a knew how. We celebrated the Holy Days of old. We were learning about New Moon celebrations etc. Many things.
We, especially I, was obsessed with learning how to do things properly and orderly. Zeal was my best friend and I was FULL of it. I wanted so badly to do right by God. I was very willing to make such huge changes for Him if it be pleasing to Him. Speaking of God, for a while we also only ever addressed Him as Yahweh and His Son as Yah’shua.
Our lives were greatly and massively impacted. It impacted our families as well. My parents in particular were extremely worried. They tried many times to talk sense into us. But we were convinced that while we knew they meant well, we just didn’t agree and were bound and determined down that path. Bless their hearts I know they were greatly grieved though.
I know some people may say, how can you miss the many scriptures in Romans and Galatians that speak on the topic!! However, I can tell you there are very strong logical arguments in favor of Torah keeping. Largely it is based on Matthew 5 where Christ speaks of the law not being done away with until heaven and earth pass. The boiled point of the argument is any scripture that speaks of the law not being required is merely talking about salvation only. Those who keep Torah will usually say that those scriptures are being twisted and do not refer to keeping the law once salvation in Christ has come. They agree justification is in Christ. But maintain that once we come to the faith we must keep Torah/OT Law. If you carefully look at the scriptures you can actually read many things in this way. I am not going to go into indepth arguments with tons of scripture whether or not to keep Torah. This is meant to be just sharing my experience so I will share what affected me most.
There is one particular scripture that opened my eyes. My dear Baptist Papaw mentioned it on his deathbed as he too was most worried about us as well. Him trying to reach me, shook me in a different way. For some reason, I believe it was the Holy Spirit opening my heart, I truly listened to Papaw and the verse he told me to read. Thank God I did. I will include some scripture before and after for context. Notice particular the point in bold.
16Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
17And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
18For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
19Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
20Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.
21Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
22But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
23But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
24Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
26For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
27For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
29And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
With that particular scripture I can NOT make the argument that after faith in Christ we are still required to keep the law. There are many other scriptures that speak about the law, but this one was particularly ‘black and white’ to me and finally opened my eyes.
When we were trying to follow Torah we were consumed with little else. Our zeal was for learning and trying to live God’s old ways. It was a fire-filled passionate zeal too. So much that our ears and eyes were closed to everything but that. It was more than a focus but an obsession indeed. It was also work/labor. It isn’t easy to do those things. We slowly moved from living by faith, but to living by works. We didn’t realize it, but we had. We were earning our way, but we swore we weren’t. It was become a burden no doubt. But in a weird way, we were proud of our burden. Our attitude was very much similar to that of the Pharisee. We were happy we knew the way, and felt sorry for the silly people who wouldn’t open their eyes to what we thought was the truth. Ah, the sin of pride creeps in so easily.
When the scales fell from my eyes after reading the scripture in Galatians, I fell. In fact I fell from a very high place to the lowest point of faith I ever had ever been to in my life. I had been so sure. So very sure I wasn’t wrong. Now my eyes were opened and I read everything differently. I felt like God had abandoned me during that time and allowed me to screw up badly. I realized that in my attempt to grow close to Him, I had actually grown far. I felt alone, cold and dark. There but for the grace of God, go I. And that fits my life at that point. I could have easily turned from the faith at that point. Part of me wanted to. But the fear of a mighty and powerful God and the Holy Spirit who was still within me, kept me from making the ultimate foolish mistake. I didn’t turn from God. I took some time to re-ground a bit and I stayed in the faith.
My faith was literally as small as a mustard seed. But praise God it was enough. Eventually I recovered and when I did, I felt so free. Free as a bird with wings. My faith was back but in a new way that was held an experience that was so deeply impacting to my core that mere words will never really express it. I seen the Word in a new and fresh light. My understanding is so different now. My experience forever changed me and gave me an understanding I am blessed for.
I know that many who keep Torah are like me. They are just truly, trying their best within their own knowledge to serve God as best as they know how. However, I fear for them. I fear that when their eyes are opened, they might fall. I fear that if they don’t open their eyes, they will slowly remove themselves from the faith and grace that God has so kindly bestowed with His precious Son.
I know this may not reach anyone, as those who keep Torah may consider me pretty well near a blasphemer for speaking this testimony. However, I pray that person one may benefit from my experience in any small way. This wasn’t easy to write, nor did I relish doing so. I felt at this point, I need to share my experience for what it is worth. May God open our eyes that we may all follow His narrow path, by faith. May the fruit of salvation cause us to be in obedience to His mighty Word. However, may our obedience never arise from our own flesh or sense of self-accomplishment.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.