I have recently been involved in another “HRM” ‘drive-by shooting.’ But, it is not the first “love” Messianics have received from that blog.
So, pondering some of the comments and wondering about the general lack of desire to really dig in and understand why Messianic/Hebraic studies are growing by leaps and bounds, and what that reveals about lacking elements in Christendom, I continued reading J. K. McKee’s terrific scholarly work, The New Testament Validates Torah: Does the New Testament Really Do Away with the Law?
In an extended quote, McKee so eloquently defines exactly what the crux of the differences are between Christian and Judaic perspectives on the Torah: (pgs 65-66)
There can be a distinct difference easily detected at times, between common Jewish and Christian views of approaching God’s commandments. Many in contemporary Christianity are of the opinion that since we cannot keep God’s commandments in the Law of Moses perfectly, that we should not even really try to keep them. Why put yourself through the hassle since God has forgiven us in Jesus? This is most evident in the widescale abandonment of the Biblical appointments of Leviticus 23. It is a fact that according to the Torah in order for these holidays to be followed perfectly, that animal sacrifices must be made, and these sacrifices can only be offered on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Many Christians reject the Biblical holidays because we are incapable of observing them to the specific letter of the Law. So, these people feel justified in replacing Biblical holidays such as Passover or the Day of Atonement with holidays of their own choosing.
Judaism has a completely different view. The Jewish people recognize that they are in the Diaspora and dispersed into the nations because they have disobeyed God and the commandments of the Torah. But they also recognize God’s promises to preserve and restore Israel, and that it is ultimately God’s grace and mercy which have preserved them some two millennia years in dispersion, in spite of terrible persecution and near annihilation (much of which, unfortunately, has been at the hands of various Church leaders). They recognize the reality that the commandments of the Torah cannot be kept perfectly. But rather than throw God’s commandments out the proverbial window, and ignore them entirely, Jewish theology approaches the mitzvot from the view that the faithful do the best they can given their circumstances, and observe the most that they can where they are.
Which is the attitude of maturity? Willfully ignoring God’s commandments because we cannot keep them perfectly? Or, doing the best we can given our circumstances, recognizing that His grace and mercy will cover us when we come up short?
The question that we are all going to have to individually answer in the years ahead, as the Messianic movement gets larger and more people are convicted about the need to be Torah obedient, is how much of God we want in our lives. Do we want to be in 100% compliance with Scripture? Or, do we want to find ourselves dawdling in immaturity, because we think that if we just do what is “minimally required,” we will make it into the Kingdom?
We are living in days when the commandments of God are being attacked, by those both outside and inside the realm of Biblical faith. The Lord directs us that we are to observe His commandments so that we might be on the correct path, and not go to the right or the left, but remain on course. I fear that there are going to be many who go off course, because they have decided to ignore His commandments and consider them irrelevant. This is something we should not want to see, and Messianics today have the responsibility of demonstrating the examples of people who have spiritually changed for the better by becoming Torah obedient. We have the responsibility of being a positive testimony to others, where one can be Torah observant and have faith in Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ).
Excellent synopsis and challenge!
[Aside: At some point I will review McKee’s excellent work. In the meantime, I HIGHLY recommend this book for any who want quality resource material as well as anyone who wants to better understand what a solid balanced position of Torah obedient faith in Messiah looks like. I don’t think any reasonable pastor can refute this book.]
If this post has blessed or challenged you, please consider sharing it.