Conversations About Law and Grace, 1

Meet Chris and Jude, a Christian and a Jewish follower of Jesus discussing the role of Torah (the commandments of the Pentateuch) in Jesus-faith.

Chris: I’ve really enjoyed meeting you, but there are a few things I don’t understand. Since you are in Christ, your actions and your belief in keeping the law seem unnecessary and a hindrance to faith.

Jude: I don’t understand what you think is incompatible about my Jewish lifestyle.

Chris: Well, I know you now and I know that your practice of the Sabbath and dietary law is not just cultural. You feel you are obligated to do them. If they were just cultural and you felt them optional, I could understand. I understand African-Americans and their customs, Chinese Christians, and so on, but you Messianic Jews see yourselves as obeying God when you keep these customs.

Jude: Well, God did command them.

Chris: But the New Testament says you are under grace and not under the law.

Jude: What do you think it means that we are not under law?

Chris: The law was temporary. It was not the best way, but a part of the plan leading to something better, to what we have in Christ. The law was then, now we have the law of Christ.

Jude: Can you give me an example of a really important law of Christ?

Chris: Of course, to love God and to love neighbor.

Jude: But that’s in the law before Christ, in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.

Chris: True.

Jude: Why do you think the law was temporary and needed to be replaced by something new, by the way of Christ?

Chris: Well, the law was carnal. It was about external ceremonies and not inner faith and devotion. It was a first step along the way of showing people how to live. But the way of Christ is pure, spiritual, better.

Jude: So the law is unspiritual?

Chris: Yes, to follow it now is legalism, to be in bondage to rules about touch this and don’t touch that. That is not the way of Christ.

Jude: So God gave bad and unhelpful scriptures to reveal himself to people?

Chris: Well . . .

Jude: And then God stuck people he loved with this bad system of carnal and legalistic rules for more than a thousand years?

Chris: Well, that doesn’t sound right.

Jude: So, could it be that the law was good and spiritual? Maybe it wasn’t temporary.

Chris: I see what you’re saying and I don’t have an answer. I don’t think God would give people something bad, harmful, or inferior. But I know the law is temporary. I know that Christ replaced the law. I just don’t know how to explain it.

Jude: Maybe you’re missing something.

Chris: I probably am. Let’s keep talking.



About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
This entry was posted in Christian, Judaism, Theology, Torah. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Conversations About Law and Grace, 1

  1. talmidrey says:

    We need to get into a right understanding of The Scriptures and back into the Hebrew roots of Scripture!!

    The Torah of Yeshua is the same exact Torah of Always!! HaShem does not change! Acts 17:11 “..Study The Scriptures daily to see if those things are so!

  2. I’ve definitely had this conversation more than a few times. I’m looking forward to seeing you unfold it, however.

    Nice allusions in the names of your characters, btw.


  3. cybrsage says:

    I posted this on another thread before realizing the last post before mine was way back in April. I will post it here, since it applies here as well:

    The way I see it, Jesus gave us two commands which sum up the Torah. Love God with all your heart, strength, and soul and to love your neighbor as yourself.

    Paul later tells us that to love God is to follow God’s commands.

    The Torah is a listing of God’s commands for the Jews…with a small portion listing the commands for the Gentiles.

    Thus, if we are to do as Jesus commanded us, we must follow God’s commands, which are listed in the Torah (and vary based on Jew or non-Jew).

    Easy and simple. The key is to follow them for the right reason, which is because you love God. Following them to look “holy” in the eyes of others is wrong and legalistic.

  4. I apologize to everyone who responded to Anonymous. I deleted his comment (and will be from now on — he’s just an interloper who steals time on other people’s blogs to pursue his anti-Jesus activities). So your comments did not make sense without his and I deleted them as well. Thanks for trying.

    Watch for Anonymous to try and come back on with a new name.

    As much as it is within my ability, I will keep him off of the comments.


    • cybrsage says:

      There is no problem with discussions, even dissenting views. They must be done respectfully, which is where he failed.

      He is proud that he has been banned from many sites…being banned from many sites is a sign you are doing something wrong. I support your decision. Initially I did not, but then I found out about his modus operandi.

  5. Pingback: Banned from the Messianic Web « Messiah: Anonymous

  6. rightrudder says:

    Did Chris and Jude de-friend you on FB after this? heheh. It is funny that we get stuck in the minor points. Paul thought that he was way too good because he fit perfectly into the law. Born, circumcised and named on the 8th day. This grew into arrogance and he found the weightier parts of the law later in life. When you understand where he comes from then you get what he is saying. And since Paul realized that his earlier “understanding” of the law was wrong, it doesn’t mean the law was wrong.

    I am reminded at this point, growing up a Bono fan in a fundamentalist family, the Preachers would bash U2 by saying that if you found Jesus then you have found all that you are looking for. And Bono’s simple reply: if you look around at the world, how can you be satisfied at a Christian. or even more blunt, “we as christians spend so much time being born again and not a lot of time growing up.” Jesus isn’t the end. He made it very clear that those who follow will do much better than he. But we are satisfied with just “believing.” It doesn’t matter how much you read, how many cassettes you buy, or even how much you believe, if you don’t respond is means nothing. What you believe is important. What you do with it is even more important.

    Rabbister D. you have vested yourself in growing up and I hope I can lean much from your journey.

  7. I always like the conversations where I ask the believer where the Feasts Of The L-rd were repealed in scripture.

    I also like to point out the simplicity of the interpretation of ‘Torah’ into ‘law’. I always, gently, explain that ‘Torah’ does not mean ‘Law’ as we know the term law. I explain how it means ‘instruction’ as in ‘to instruct’.

    Then I do the word substitution exercise using the example that I learned as a young believer. ‘We’re not under the ‘Law’ anymore, we’re under grace’.

    “We’re under Grace, we’re not under G-d’s instruction anymore”. It’s then I emphasize that G-d is the G-d of order and has set forth how he is to be worshiped. It is not legalism if G-d has set forth in His word, how He is to be worshiped.

    G-d is Spirit, and He must be worshiped in spirit and in truth. We must be honest with ourselves first and decide, do we love the things of G-d, or do we love G-d.

    So, simply put, the commandment of ‘Love the L-rd your G-d with all your strength, all your heart, and all your might’ can also be summed up as, ‘If you love me, you’ll keep my commandments’.

    To honor The Almighty, is to be obedient. Plain and simple.


  8. Pingback: Weekly Meanderings | Jesus Creed

  9. Pingback: Conversations About Law and Grace (Parts 1 through 3) | Midnight Approaches

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