I have a friend who has been a born-again Christian for some time. She has been led by another to follow the ways of Messianic Jews. My spirit was not right within me and I felt unrest when I first heard about her “change.” So I began researching the Messianic Jewish beliefs. Having been raised catholic, I discovered many correlations between Judaism and that of Catholicism. Catholicism bases many of its rituals to Jewish Laws. It amazes me that a born-again believer would want to have the yoke of religion’s burden once again placed upon his shoulders!
I was led to Paul’s letter to the Galatians, which is an excellent book covering this very topic. By the time I got to the third chapter, I discovered that one who lives under the Law lives under a curse.
~Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the Law to do them.
Jesus redeemed us from this curse so why would we want to go back to it? He became a curse so that we no longer had to live under that curse of the Law! The Law taught us that we cannot keep it all because we are sinful, therefore, we are cursed.
~Galatians 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
What was the purpose of the Law if it was a curse then? The Law is our schoolmaster, a teacher if you will. It shows people they are sinners! When people realize they are sinners and and cannot keep the whole Law, it then points them to faith in Christ. After salvation by faith, they are not under the Law any longer.
~Galatians 3:24-25 Wherefore the Law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
The born again believer receives the Holy Spirit at salvation, He lives within the believer and the believer is led by Him, therefore, he is no longer under the Law.
~Galatians 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the Law.
The Law was not given to produce righteousness. The Law was given to show man he was a sinner in need of salvation. If any righteousness can come from keeping the Law, then Christ died for nothing! Not only Judaism practices this but Catholicism as well. The rituals that are entrenched in religion add a burden that is unbearable and these Laws just cannot be kept without failure! At best, the individual who is attempting to keep the Law realizes how futile an attempt it is.
Gal 3:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the Law, then Christ is dead in vain.
We live under the Dispensation of Grace, not the Law. The born-again Jew has been released from the Law to live under grace. This grace given by God helps us to live righteously. Christ brought an end to that Law and brought forth righteousness.
~Romans 7:6 But now we are delivered from the Law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
~Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
Christians are not under the Law but under Grace – but this Grace is in no way a license to sin. This is where confusion sets in for most churches today. There seems to be a lack of understanding concerning what Grace is. Grace is not passing over our sins nor is it merely unmerited favor. Grace is a God-given ability to live righteously.
~Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
This is grace – God’s power within us to stay away from sin! Christians are called to a higher standard under grace than that of the Law. It’s not an open door to sin – it’s not a free ticket to do all things because we have an ability to do so! In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Jesus said that the adulterer was guilty of that sin under the Law but under Grace, you are guilty of adultery if you even look at a woman to lust after her (~Matt. 5:28). The Law says you are guilty of murder if you kill someone. But under Grace, if you even hate your brother you are guilty of murder (~1 Joh. 3:15). The Law says you have sinned if you bow down to an idol. But under Grace, if you are covetous you are guilty of idolatry (~Colossias. 3:5). Does this sound like the Christian has a license to sin? Absolutely not! We are called to a higher standard! Many today have misinterpreted this Grace and say it is freedom and we can do whatever we want! Do you not see how deceived this is? Is it any wonder that some Christians are looking to a more righteous form of living?
God’s people were given Laws that they could not keep because of their sinful nature. They were not given the power to keep the Law, that is, they were not given Grace as Christians have under the New Covenant.
Why would a born again Jew want to go back to the things of the Law? Why would a born-again Christian wish to convert and become a Messianic Jew? Jewish Law had more than 600 Laws they had to follow – these were not just the Ten Commandments. The Word says:
~Galatians 4:9-11 After that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid [for] you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.
If we are led by the Holy Spirit are we under the Law? No. “If ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the Law” (Gal. 5:18).
Why would one want to follow after the Old Covenant when it was not faultless?
~Hebrews 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
Jesus Christ brought us a better covenant!
~Hebrews 8:6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
My friend, if you are a born again Christian and have been led by others to follow after the Law, please study your Bible – especially Galatians. Paul, a Pharisee, would have been the perfect example if this were to be the life of a Christian. However, the Hall of Faith in Hebrews says Abraham, etc. lived by faith – these were all before the Law – and they were accounted as righteous. Be careful who you follow! Don’t be deceived. Christ saved us from the works of the Law to be born again under grace. We are called to higher standards than the Law and are given grace to live by those standards! Be careful!