Yes, that would explain how I've been lately. So much to think about out. Much time in prayer, asking Adonai, through His Holy Spirit, to instruct me. I have been listening to the Torah (Genesis - Deuteronomy) and reading from the B'rit Hadashah (New Testament). My main question - does Messiah's gift of salvation through grace actually nullify God's instructions and commands from the Torah?
From my own reading, it appears that Christ/Yeshua Himself observed the feasts, kept the Sabbath, and followed the Torah. And we are told to walk as He walked. I don't see where He ever said that God's commands were to be tossed. His disciples, also, were Torah observant. When did we (Christians) start cherry picking commandments... "OK, we'll stick with the 'shalt not kill' and 'shalt not commit adultery', but 'remember the Sabbath to keep it holy' is really inconvenient, so let's chuck it. And 'not coveting thy neighbor's ---', well, how about just a little, we'll have a home improvement show and do a little Jonesing, what can it hurt?" Sounds like "doing what is right in their own minds". God's mind is not my mind. Can I get an Amen?
As I listen to God's laws and then read from the writings of Paul and Matthew, I am more and more uneasy that I have bought a partial theology. I certainly don't doubt that it is only through Messiah's shed blood that I am saved by grace, not of my own works. Nothing I can do will make God love me more or less. HOWEVER, my thankfulness and love for Elohim in return causes me to wish to obey His commands, heed His instructions, and reverence His Word. I find it a blessing, not a burden, as I learn and follow. My love for God and His Word grows, my passion is ignited, my gratitude is profoundly increased.
Romans 10:4, in most translations, reads that "Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes." But when I dig deeper, the root of the word here translated (telos) more frequently means 'goal' or 'purpose'. In which case, the meaning would be that Messiah is the goal that Torah aims at, rather than Christ brings the law to an end.
And in Matthew 5:17, Yeshua (Christ) says, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter , not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished." Because of Christ, the Law is no longer a burden, we have salvation, now it becomes an act of love and thanksgiving. AND, I am empowered by God's Holy Spirit to keep His commands and follow His instructions.
I also struggle with the confusion of where, exactly, does that then leave me. I am not Jewish. But I read that I am grafted into the tree. That means that for all intents and purposes, I am now one with the tree. I will take my nourishment from the same source and bear the same fruit. But the tree doesn't want to claim me, since I claim Yeshua Messiah. And what does being part of that tree really look like. I am reading carefully to determine what are the words from Adonai Himself and what are the things that man has made up and added to those words.
Elohim commands that we not eat of unclean meats. Pork, rabbit, shrimp - all elements of my diet thus far - are right out. But in some Jewish teaching, the rind of pork is OK, while I can't put dairy products with my meat. What? Well, apparently the rind of the pork was never meant to be eaten so it is therefore exempt from the unclean status. (Manmade stipulation) And as for the cheese in my chicken enchiladas? Well, there is that reference to not boiling a baby goat in its mother's milk. (Again, manmade stipulation, it takes some gymnastics to work this one up). So for now I am trying to learn what it was Adonai commanded and separate it from all the stuff man decided to add.
So I have small struggles (I really like bacon) and large struggles (Where would I fit in? Will friends or family reject me if I begin to live by my newly birthed convictions? Why does my boat have to be rocked at all? Why didn't I take Hebrew in high school instead of French?) There are many more questions and mostly I am reading, listening and then sitting, trying to be quiet, and waiting for God to show me His truth.
Anyway, I'm drifting. Here are a few things that I wanted to share: (the bold is my own emphasis)
Here is an excerpt from Derek Prince Ministries Weekly E-Devotional for June 7, 2010:
Building on God's Laws
Here is a word for you from the Word.
I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me. My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times. NIV
I suppose there comes a time in the life of every one of us when everything seams so impermanent, so transitory. We don't know where we can find anything that's permanent, that endures, that's secure. We ourselves are just like a little breath, a vapor that's here today and gone tomorrow.
Some people fight that off with some kind of addiction. They turn to alcohol or drugs or they give themselves over to some kind of fleshly indulgence because they don't want to face the fact of human impermanence; that we are not here to stay forever; that this world is not our final resting place.
But there's another way to turn. We don't need to turn to narcotics, to something that drugs us, to something that deadens us and blinds us. There's another way to turn. "Do not hide your commands from me. My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times." There is something that is permanent in this life; it's readily accessible to us. It's God's Word, its His laws, it's His commandments. And as we turn to these and lay hold upon them and begin to build our life on them there comes into our temporary, transient, impermanent life a new kind of solidity, an eternity that's from the Word of God. - Derek Prince
As I am reading more, questioning more, learning more, I continue to ask myself if I am being drawn into some sort of legalism. I keep checking my heart and I don’t believe I am but I really appreciated these posts I found that help us have a measure for checking our hearts and also help explain why it seems to be such a fear:
Legalism: Yours, Mine and Ours
You Are A Legalist
Now for something lighter... Kent asked me a question that I thought I would repeat here - were all the pictures from my last post taken the same evening? Yes. They were. The sky was in a continuous state of change.
And here are a couple pics from Sunday evening's sky. I love the pinks and peach and that double arc.
I apologize if this post seems to be all over the place. So much has been going on internally and I've talked a lot with Kent, with my sister, and with Valerie, but I've not tried to share it in depth until now. But I've reached the point where it is beginning to overflow. This has been a long one. If you got this far, thanks for reading. : )