By Patrick Hawthorne
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.