Some of these were my own knee-jerk assumptions when I found out that my dad had become Torah-observant. Others are remarks that I have received from others who thought they knew what I believed before they looked into it for themselves. ALL of my friends who have since looked into it have realized that I am not a heretic. Some of them have come to the understanding that living by God’s instructions cannot possibly be bad for us. Others still believe that I am holding myself to an unnecessary, burdensome standard. I urge you to look into these matters and decide for yourself.
False Assumption #1. You are relying on works for salvation.
No. No I’m not. My salvation is 100% dependent on the fact that Christ lived a perfect life and died for my sins. In fact, I have never met a single Torah-observant believer who thinks that salvation can be earned.
“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.” Ephesians 2:8, 9
#2. You place more value in the Old Testament than in the New.
I believe that the Old Testament contains godly instructions for living that are applicable to all men. The gospels show us how Christ was the only man to ever obey the Father perfectly. Most of the rest of the New Testament teaches us how to apply those instructions to our own lives once we have been adopted into the covenant that God made with Israel.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
#3. You think you have secret knowledge.
The Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible) contains the standards of righteousness given by God to His covenant people. These instructions make up the oldest religion in the world – the Father’s religion. These instructions have been available and accessible to everyone who grew up with a Bible in their home. Anyone who has ever read the Torah has read that it is a blessing because the Father says so Himself:
“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” Deuteronomy 30:19
“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” Jeremiah 6:16
#4. You are disrespecting Christ’s sacrifice.
By refraining from what He came to save us from (sin) and by following His righteous example?
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Romans 6:1, 2
“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” I John 3:4
“He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” I John 2:6
#5. You think you are Jewish.
Not a member of the tribe of Judah specifically (a Jew), but part of Israel in general. All who enter into the marriage covenant (the members of the bride of Christ) are born again to become part of spiritual Israel. It doesn’t matter whether we were originally part of the lost 10 tribes that He came to restore, or whether we were strangers who have been adopted into the commonwealth of Israel. We are born again; we are grafted in (to Israel).
“And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:29
“Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. The Lord God, which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.” Isaiah 56:6-8
“That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:” Ephesians 2:12
“And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.” Romans 11:17, 18
#6. You think you are better than other Christians.
My obedience has nothing to do with other Christians and everything to do with pleasing God. Do you refrain from committing adultery because you are trying to earn your salvation or because you are trying to boast in righteousness? No. For the same reason that you choose to remain faithful to your spouse, I choose to remain faithful to my God. Love.
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15
#7. Your obedience to Torah makes you judgmental.
I insist that I am less judgmental than I have ever been. I realize that all Christians who are still eating bacon are doing so because they have no idea that the Father gave them good instructions and desires for them to choose physical life over death in the here and now (and not just eternal, spiritual life). I know they aren’t rebelling against God’s instructions on purpose because I used to be in the same boat. Using the same exact reasoning, I understand that homosexuals, fornicators, thieves, drunkards, false witnesses, and even those who are worshiping other gods have no idea that our Father loves them and has given them instructions for their own good.
“Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.” Romans 14:4
I think that most people have this idea that the Christian God makes up silly rules for no other reason than to control and restrict them. (This is the same image that mainstream Christians have of parts of the Torah that don’t make sense to them.)
Part of the reason that folks have this idea is because of the Pharisees, the Catholics, and other denominations over the years that have gone to great lengths to control and oppress the people through their mad-made restrictions, pronouncing eternal consequences upon the heads of the “heretics.” What they don’t understand is that God’s instructions have never been burdensome – only beneficial. The reason it’s so hard to correct this perception is because folks don’t read their Bibles with open eyes (if they even read them at all), and because they don’t trust the Old Testament enough to give His instructions a sporting chance (to discover that they are a blessing and easy to follow).
“And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?” Deuteronomy 10:12-13
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” I John 5:3
#8. You are behaving like the Pharisees.
Nope. Uh-uh. The Pharisees added and removed from the Torah, and this is the very reason that Jesus came down so hard on them. The Pharisees invented man-made restrictions in addition to God’s perfect instructions and created loopholes in some of God’s instructions that they didn’t want to keep. Jesus kept His FATHER’S instructions perfectly and openly rebelled against man-made traditions. This is precisely what I seek to do in my own life (although I am not brave enough to be so open in my rebellion against the man, lol).
“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.” Deuteronomy 4:2
“Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.” Mark 7:13
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” Matthew 23:23