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Sin and Torah

A Plain Language Thought from the Window

The Harmony Area's focus on Jew and Gentile makes for an interesting look at how God deals with sin.

We all have a sense of morality. Scripture tells us this is placed on our hearts. Sin also has its own story ... from the beginning in an idyllic garden setting ... as if no place is perfect enough to escape this reality. We do sense this awareness woven into our being. In this world, there is a will to see good triumph—to save the day! And yet the world clearly has its wrong doing—evil is here. Hollywood capitalizes on the contrast: good and evil.

A Longstanding Issue

We are now in an era where a growing Jewish awareness of the Messiah's identity is coming into the open. Yet, the concept of living according to the Torah runs head on into the message of the Gospel. A careful reading of the Tanach (Old Covenant) certainly places a huge emphasis on Torah, the Law, and following the God's laws and commandments.

Observance of the Law and the longstanding practice of a sacrifice to cover one's sin as officiated by the Temple Priests was a fact of life [Atonement]. The Law set a high standard, clearly delineated right from wrong, and revealed sin.

So, when Israel was faced with a Messiah standing in her midst, did the Law go away? Was it invalid and obsolete? A reading of the Brit Chadeshah sometimes becomes confusing on this issue.

A Simple Rule of Thumb

We need something to help define what is sin. The Torah and the laws and commandments do that. And today, even in a new covenant context, the Law still reveals [illustrates] what is sin.

If you see that living one's life according to the Torah is what some insist is the only way to live, that is clearly a choice. But the Messiah simplified the Commandments and the Law as follows:

Matthew 22:37 Yeshua (Jesus) said to him,” ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 “This is the first and great commandment.
39 “And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Clearly, the Messiah speaks to the Jewish heart and mind when He relates a simpler approach. Gentiles may not even understand that the first great commandment is linked to the Shema, recited twice a day by many people, a saying repeated weekly in synagogues, and words from Hebrew Scripture. The book of Mark reveals this by stating what Matthew does with a bit more detail:

Mark 10:28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”

29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one.
30* ‘And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.

Where does this "the LORD is one" come from?

Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!

That verse is the Shema! So, the Messiah is saying if you do these and you've done the rest!

Mt 22:40 “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

So How Does This Work?

Two simple things to keep in mind.

First, Yeshua, as He was being crucified, said "It is finished." What does that mean? Some say that He was declaring an end to the only demonstration of a fully sinless life. Scripture says that Yeshua came to earth to 'complete' the Law. That is, to follow the Law without a single violation.

Second, Scripture is quite clear that no man is good, so it's rather hard to say any human is without sin.

Ec 7:20 For there is not a just man on earth who does good And does not sin.

The Torah then stands less as the ultimate goal to attain a sinless life. That is unrealistic. But, the Law reveals sin. And this brings us back to the Lamb of God. That Lamb was slain for forgiveness of all sin.

The Torah in this way actually works with the gospel, the good news that by our faith in Messiah, we are saved ... we are forgiven ... and this defines the ultimate grace. We cannot earn this by following a set of rules. This is something given in recognition of faith. And yet, almost like a dog who chases his tail, we are to seek a life according to the Law ... that is, to a life right in God's sight. This is not a contradiction, it simply means forgiveness and grace just don't come with an open invitation to willfully sin more and more.

If we stumble, we can get up and by faith continue the journey ... that is the fruit of trials and a process of growing our faith. The Law helps to show where sin is a problem, but through faith comes grace and a forgiveness that the Messiah provided once and for all ... Jew and Gentile together.

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Read the Bible: MKJV of Hebrew (Tanach) and Greek (Brit Chadeshah); plus other translations added as available.

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