A Return to Torah? (Part 2 – Perversion of Grace)

By Patrick Hawthorne

Wolf in sheeps2




For part 1 please click here.  https://servinggrace.com/2017/03/29/a-return-to-torah-part-1/




In part 1 of “A Return to Torah,” I addressed that many in the body of Christ are turning from a message of God’s grace in pursuit of a return to Torah – the Law of Moses.  The question that remains is why?  Why would people who say they accept Jesus as Lord and savior want to return to the confines of a strict system that none but Jesus was ever able to fulfill; a system based on works?  I have been thinking and meditating on this for several days and believe I may have a two sided answer.  Unfortunately both sides are as equally perverse of God’s grace as the other.

On one side is the “Ain’t nothing free,” grace message.  This is the message being taught where the listener feels obligated, whether from pressure or from guilt, to “work” for their salvation or to “work to maintain,” their salvation.  This group believes, whether they say it or not, that their justification comes from their actions before God.  If they are good enough, do the right things, or obey the right rules then they are justified before God; then they will have peace, power, and joy.  We have a great example of this from the word.

In 2 Kings Chapter five, we have the account of leprous Naaman, a commander in the Syrian army. In the account, Naaman went to see Elisha to obtain his healing.  Upon arrival to Elisha’s home, word was sent by a messenger to Naaman to dip seven times in the Jordan.  This infuriated Naaman.  He was expecting a grand production to be made for his healing or at least a face to face with the mighty prophet of God.  Yet, all he received was simple set of instructions from a simple messenger.  As he stormed away…now get this… his servant said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it?”

The above represents those who return to Torah.  Their return to the Law of Moses represents a belief that they must work their way into God’s grace. The greater the sacrifice, the greater the reward.  Touch not, eat not, observe this, follow that are adhered to as a way of associating with the Living God.  Never mind that Jesus became the propitiation for their sins and our advocate with the Father.

On the other side of the perverted grace message, we have the watered down “Free love” message where people are taught that God loves them just as they are with no expectation of change.  This message has become so rampant that many feel justified living in their sins.  Yes, God does love us.  Let there be no doubt about that.  However, when we confuse His love for us as His acceptance of our lifestyle, we have just perverted His grace.

Paul wrote, in Romans 6:15-16, “What then?  Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace?  Certainly not!  Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?”

 “For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves.  It is the gift of God, not of works lest any should boast.”  God’s grace is not of works nor is it a license to sin.  It is a free gift of God whereby He is able to put His love into action for us.  Be blessed.

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Posted in Christian, teaching, writing
13 comments on “A Return to Torah? (Part 2 – Perversion of Grace)
  1. Well said, both this piece and part one.

    I too notice these things. I don’t know what to say. I’ve simply decided people must now be evolving backwards. We’ll just call it devolving.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Watchman says:

    I love this… you have gotten the balance. More Christians need to avoid these extremes… and discover what is the true grace of God in Christ Jesus

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Patrick,

    I believe that there is also a third answer. This is the group of rock-solid Believers who are saved by grace and Grace alone who want to return to the Jewish roots (small “r”) to better understand the Jewishness of our faith and who want to reach our Jewish neighbors with the Gospel. I explain this more on my own blog at: https://h4i.us/about/



    • Good point… I thought about that because I love learning Jewish customs and pay attention to Jewish holidays. However, this does not mean I have a desire to return to the Law. I’m glad I found you in the spam file.


  4. SLIMJIM says:

    Good post Patrick. We must not avoid the extreme of being either legalists nor libertines…we must understand God’s grace rightly!


  5. Patrick, What has been happening to my comments on this series?



  6. Mrs. Nix says:

    I enjoyed parts 1 & 2 tremendously. I think that a lot of the things we see like this stem from some serious deficits in biblical literacy and church leadership. When one reads and studies the Torah deeply as a Christian, we see so clearly WHY Christ was the fulfillment of it. The lack of understanding and passion for understanding Leviticus in the Body of Christ concerns me. Leviticus converted me, actually, because when I came to understand the role of the the burnt offering (Lev17:11), the New Covenant clicked into logical place, and I “saw it.” For the first time.

    Without understanding what the Torah was and what it was for (bringing unclean sinners to a state of cleanliness so we could be in fellowship with God…a return to Edenic relationship), people see it as a mere list of doctrinal practices. When we do that, we fail to see the true power of the Cross, that it washed us clean for all time so that none of the Law was needed. The purpose of the law was fulfilled for all time for all believers.

    It’s a deficit of learning. That could be solved by more preaching, perhaps, but I believe the root of the problem is that Christians are simply not studying the Pentateuch well enough or often enough to actually understand it.


    • Thanks for the comment… I agree that many believe the Torah to be a list of doctrinal do’s and dont’s. You wrote, “A return to Edenic relationship…” That has been on my mind in such a big way of late. I don’t usually do this, but please read https://servinggrace.com/2017/06/22/tonguesthe-misunderstood-language-part-3/ … I would like your view of this.


      • Mrs. Nix says:

        Well, I have never even contemplated the gift of tongues before. I’ve never witnessed it or been taught about it in any of my traditions. That said, I do very much believe that the entire Bible is the story of God’s pursuit of Eden with man. Every time we screw it up, God chases us down and provides another way for closeness with Him.

        I will read the entire blog series you did on this after church. 🙂


      • Thanks…For the record, I was not trying to sway you one way or the other. I was just really intrigued by your response. I tend to think of the fall from Eden to mean the turning upside down of the world. Jesus came to turn it right side up again; to bring heaven back to earth.


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