Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Yielding to God & Torah Observance

The Questions:

What does I Timothy 4 mean in regard to food?

How does Acts 10:9-23 relate to this?

How does Romans 14:1-14 relate to this?

Do Christians have to follow the law of the Old Testament?

How do I become a godly woman?

Clevsea's Answers:

Rom 14:1-14 is indeed a very helpful part of the Bible for this conversation.

As to Acts 10 (Peter's vision of unclean foods) please have a look at this:

"11 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy." Gal 2:11-13

Some believers think that the vision that Peter experienced had less to do with clean or unclean foods as it had to do with eating with Gentiles.

For me personally I don't have to figure out the clean meats from the unclean ones. For whatever reason I was born with an aversion to meat and don't eat meat and there are many foods I have never tasted. I don't consider this to a religious thing but it is like being born right handed, it seems I did not have a very "purposeful" role in whether to eat meat or not.

All that means is that I have zero decisions to make and I have zero urges to tell others what to eat or not eat. I can surmise that the vast majority of believing Christians have assumed from the Bible that pork and shrimp, etc are okay to eat and this appears to be the case for well over a 1000 years if not closer to 2000 years.

What the majority does is not always correct but it's food for thought that so many Christians read the Bible and decided that the ban on unclean meats has been lifted.

Even more of a question is whether the Christian keeps the law.

First let me be clear and truthful. I do not keep the law and I am not Torah Observant.

I have Torah Observant friends that I like to show Christian respect and love toward so I often keep quiet on the topic. There are lovely women who are TO.

I like these women, I think they know that.

But for me the answer is no, I do not follow in what is known at Torah Observance or try to obey the law of the Old Testament.

Here is why. Testament and Covenant ---think about those words.

Jesus taught us that we are under a New Covenant. His blood and His body are the New Covenant. Paul wrote Galatians which is hands-down the MOST compact place in the Bible to explain the Christian and his/her position in regard to the law.

How long does it take to read Galatians?

NOT THAT LONG---I'm not screaming, I just want your attention on this.

Anyone who wavers at all on the topic please read Galatians.

Romans is a much more difficult book but it is very clear what role the law has upon the Christian believer. The law was the tutor to show our need for Grace.

Now I will acknowledge a frightening verse because I know it's there and I will not ignore it:

"18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." Matt 5:18-20 ~~~~~Jesus Christ

I personally believe that it's this verse that spurs on the Torah Observant and I can see why.

But Galatians still "trumps" this for me because Paul was a Pharisee and he knew the law and the Torah.

Paul did not try to make Gentiles into practising Jews and he was very, very clear on this point:

“If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? 15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
17 “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 19 For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

He plainly asked: Why do YOU compel Gentiles to live as Jews?

He plainly stated: man is NOT justified by the works of the law


we are justified by faith

and the REAL point:

"If righteousness comes through the law then Christ died in vain"

in Gal 3 Paul goes on to ask this:

"Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?"

He needed to add that because some believe in salvation by faith in Jesus but they will continue toward perfection through following the law. The law can't do this for you, it cannot. Neither can your flesh.

Paul goes on to explain again the purpose of the law in the rest of Galatians three.

I read the law yearly. I'm in Deuteronomy right this day. I do love reading the law and I do love the law. I cannot keep the whole law. To keep the whole law I would have to have some rams, some lambs, some bulls, some turtle doves, a Priest of Aaron who knew his stuff and I'd need a temple and so much more that only reading the first 5 books of the Old Testment can explain.

Okay, we Christians acknowledge that Jesus Christ is our Passover Lamb and He is now our High Priest. How do we know? Well, mainly the book of Hebrews is the most conclusive book for that info.

Most of us know that we don't need a Priest or the animal sacrifices at this point.

Hebrews 8:7----"For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second."

and in 7:19----"for the law made nothing perfect"

and in 8:13 ---"He has made the first [covenant] obsolete"

You really need to read Hebrews chp 9 and 10 where our ability to enter the "holiest" by the blood of Jesus is taught.

If you and I eliminate the sacrifices of the Old Covenant the Old Testament in favor of the New Testament then we need then only look at the "moral" teachings of the law and the celebrations of the law.

Let's cover the feasts and the holidays. For me I rely on Paul in Galatians 4----"You observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain." Gal 4:10-11

Paul does not appear to be in favor of it and that is what I go by. I do keep in mind the words of Christ already quoted about the law. I do not want to be a false teacher or called the least in heaven....but I do have to decide these issues with prayer and Bible reading and that is the stance I have taken.

As to the morals in the law----I see that if I am obeying the Lord in the New Testament portion of the Bible I will be in compliance with those. I will not sleep with my uncle. I will not practice witchcraft or sorcery. I can't put a witch to death due to the laws of the USA so I don't have to decide that. I will not steal and I will not covet. I will not take the Lord's name in vain and much more.

Will I flee to a city of refuge if I commit manslaughter? No. There isn't one to flee to. Will I restore my slave to his state of freedom after his years of service are up? No. I don't have a slave to restore. Will I charge interest on money I lend? No, I will not because it isn't right. Will I lie in court and bear false witness? No, Christ would not have me do that.

Will I wear mixed fibers? Will I abstain from marital relations during my customary monthly ordeal (aka, the flow)? In these matters I beg the Lord to circumcize my heart as in Deut 30:6 and in Deut 10:16 because I am not 100% certain on the fibers. I do avoid them but not because my faith is at risk or my Walk with the Lord. Do I abstain from marital relations at certain times? Yes, because it seems like a matter of obedience not covered by Paul or Jesus in the New Testament and it seems like a very good idea to me.

Because this is long already I will conclude by adding something I wrote yesterday about becoming a godly woman. I do hope it helps those who strive to accomplish things in their flesh or those who worry that they should be if they are not.

The Question: How do I become a godly woman. What does that look like?

Clevsea's answer:

I've been trying to be a godly woman for 28 years and for me I always
come back to "who" is doing "what" in my life.

My flesh isn't of any help.

Paul says that the flesh is at war with the SPIRIT...and I can "Amen" that thought.

The Lord God says..."MY ways are not your ways, MY thoughts are not your thoughts."

We are not anything like God. The first man was made in His image and the first woman from the man. But our characters, our thoughts, our deeds, our motivations, anything of the flesh is not going to be godly, not since the Fall in the Garden.

The only thing I *can* do is submit, yeild, ask the Holy Spirit of God to dwell in me and change me, turn me to Him and His thoughts.

The verse...."take every thought captive to the obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ." is another good example of how all this works.

We either yield to God and remember that He is the Vinedresser, He is our Gardener (in other words) and He will nuture us as we bend to His will.

What specifically changes about any of us is this:

We would become more like God as we allow God to be *in* us.

The Fruit of, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfullness, gentleness, and self-control...this is the Fruit of the Sprit.

Not fruits, the fruit. This is how we can tell someone is a Christian, the Lord Jesus said that you can tell a tree by its fruit. I might stand at the nursery looking at fruit trees and find they look a lot alike...but if there is fruit on them I will know a Pear tree from a Plum tree at first sight.

There are soooooooooooo many Biblical verses about Jesus being *in* us. Those words are so little that our eyes just skim over them in the Bible.....but they are very important words.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit is misunderstood and wrong teachings go out from churches and people which malign and mislead.

Let's keep it simple rather than spooky and ghostlike. The Spirit is Jesus Christ.

How do I know?

II Cor 3:17 AND Rom 8:9-14

"the Lord is the Spirit"


"you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you......if you live according to
the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live."