By Brother Michel Lankford
Using Proper Labels
The first thing that we have to address is the idea of using proper labels for this issue. The body of Laws that you are referring to are often referred to as the Law of Moses, but in reality, it is not the law of Moses, it is the Law of YHWH Almighty God as DISTRIBUTED BY Moses. That makes and HUGE difference, because YHWH Almighty God is the SOURCE and the AUTHORITY behind that Law and NOT Moses.
The real reason that theologians like to refer to it as the Law of Moses, (instead of calling it the Law of God which it truly is), is because the law that is thought to be given by a human being is a lot easier to repeal, to abolish or to do away with, then it is to abolish a law that is given by Almighty God, who cannot change.
Let’s face facts. It is very uncomfortable for modern-day theologians to try to explain how the Almighty God, who clearly said eight different times that He DOES NOT CHANGE, and that His Laws are FOREVER; but then supposedly, He then abolished, His UNCHANGING ETERNAL Laws, through Jesus Christ the Messiah. It’s a lot easier to refer to God’s Eternal Laws as the Law of Moses, because then you can ignore some pretty glaring inconsistencies in your theology, and you can avoid answering some pretty embarrassing questions, that most modern theologians are not prepared to wrestle with and to reconcile.
So, let us be firmly established in this. The Law that most people refer to as the Mosaic law, is actually the Law of YHWH Almighty God, and NOT actually the Law of Moses. Moses is a prophet. He could NOT speak ANYTHING in God’s Name, that Almighty God did not say. If Moses had spoken anything contrary to what God told him to say, then he would be a presumptuous and false prophet, and nothing he said would have any validity at all. So, let us be clear. This is the law of God as distributed by Moses. It’s not the Law of Moses.
It is very similar to how many people distort the New Testament, and you hear them call things like the Gospel of Matthew, or the gospel of John, etc. That’s not precisely true. It’s NOT the gospel of John. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ, (Yeshua the Messiah); ACCORDING TO JOHN. That may sound like you’re just splitting hairs, but it’s usually important. That’s because John, and his experiences with Christ; or his conclusions, are NOT the central issue of the gospel. It’s the gospel of Jesus Christ, because MESSIAH; Who Messiah is, what Jesus did; and what it means is the central focus of the gospel that was later written down and distributed by John. That makes the difference. It’s not the gospel of John. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ, according to John. It seems like a small use of language, but when you consider who the real focuses, it has huge implications. So, using the proper labels and terminology does matter.
Paul Said that the Law is Good.
As It Is Written: “But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, (1 Timothy 1:8 NKJV)
Paul clearly said that the Law is GOOD, (1 Timothy 1:8; Romans 7:13-16). At the same time, don’t forget Paul’s qualifier. “We know that the law is good, IF one uses it lawfully.” The reason that Paul could say that and be legitimate, is because Paul understood what the word, “GOOD,” actually means from God’s Biblical point of view.
From God’s biblical point of view, in order for something to be truly GOOD, it means that a particular thing is functioning; it is working; and it is fulfilling the purpose that God established when he created it. For just one example, if an apple tree is producing a bountiful crop of healthy apples, then it is considered to be a GOOD apple tree, because God designed it to produce a bountiful crop of healthy apples.
Let’s take that a step further. When that same good apple tree, that produce the bountiful crop of healthy apples, and then those apples fall to the ground and produces more trees after its kind that each produce their own bountiful crop of healthy apples, that same good tree is now called “VERY GOOD;” because not only did it fulfill the function for which God established it, but then it replicated itself and produced more good apple trees. That’s what God means what he calls something VERY GOOD.
That is why Paul could rightly say that the Law of God is good, (because Paul rightly understood that God established the Law to fulfill certain purposes in a believer’s life), but he also understood that the Law of God is only good IF and WHEN you use God’s Law correctly. When we use God’s Law to fulfill the Purposes that God established, then that’s good. Conversely, when we miss use God’s Law, and we abuse the Law to try to accomplish things that God never designed His Law to do, then that is not good, that’s bad. Anytime we allow something to function as God intended and designed it to function, then it is good. Anytime we abuse something that God gave us, and we try to force it to accomplish things that God never designed for to accomplish, then that is not good. God’s Law is GOOD; but only if one uses the law lawfully. New
There are a few basic things that we can do to avoid error and false doctrine. . That is, that we should pay attention to what the physical text of Scripture actually says, and that we should not mentally edit or filter out parts of Scripture to fit our doctrine. Another key thing that we can do to avoid false doctrine is to remember YHWH Almighty God’s stated purpose for various things. Now, the Almighty Father does not always give a stated purpose for everything that he asked us to do, but what he does we need to bring it to mind because it helps to confirm its validity, (although it would be valid even without explanation, sometimes knowing the WHY of something helps us to submit to it more easily), and to cement its importance in our minds so that it is harder to forget or harder to dismiss.
In other words, once we know YHWH Almighty God’s stated purpose for His Law, Commandments and Instructions, it truly does become infinitely more difficult to get rid of God’s Law in the name of Grace, (which is a popular false doctrine); but once you understand the purposes that the Law of God were intended to perform in the life of believers, the false doctrine of getting rid of the law in the name of grace becomes much harder to justify and to defend. According to Scripture then, what is the stated purposes of the Law of God?
Remember the 10 Key Purposes of Yahweh’s Torah
- God’s Law highlights Abba-YAH’s True Character (Leviticus 11:44-45; Ezekiel 36:25-27; 1 Peter 1:14-16; Ephesians 5:1; Colossians 1:9-12; Psalm 19:7-14; Psalm 119:9; cf. 2 Peter 1:4; Ephesians 2:10). If you want to know God’s Character, we must look to God’s Law because God’s law defines God’s holiness and His Character.
As It Is Written: “For I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy. Neither shall you defile yourselves with any creeping thing that creeps on the earth. For I am the LORD who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. (Leviticus 11:44–45 NKJV)
- The purpose of the law is to concretely and definitively identify and give us clear definitions of what TRUTH is, and what SOUND DOCTRINE is (Psalm 119:142,144; Psalm 119:151; Psalm 119:160; Proverbs 4:2).
As It Is Written: “For I give you good doctrine: Do not forsake my law. (Proverbs 4:2 NKJV)
So, when we understand that the definition of sound doctrine INCLUDES the Torah, (Proverbs 4:2), and then when you read in the New Testament, that the time will come when people will not endure sound doctrine, but will instead accumulate for themselves teachers that tell them what their itching ears want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3; 2 Timothy 3:14-17; then if you understand the definition of doctrine that Paul was using, (e.g. sound doctrine = Torah; Proverbs 4:2), there is NO Chance that Paul could have been teaching people against keeping Torah, because he considered Torah to be sound doctrine, and he warned that the time would come when people would not tolerate Torah; they would not tolerate sound doctrine, but they would gather to themselves teachers that teach you what their itching ears want to hear. This is yet another of the many, “Pro-Torah statements that Paul actually made when you understand the Scriptures in context of the whole Bible.
- God’s Law gives YHWH’s static, permanent and unchanging definition of WHAT SIN IS (1 John 3:4; cf. Matthew 7:21-23; Daniel 9:11; Hosea 8:1; Romans 7:7); It also highlights my continuing NEED for the Redeemer. We know that sin means to miss the bull’s-eye that God intended; to miss the target. How do you know if you are hitting the bull’s-eye, or missing God’s target, if you don’t truly understand what target you are trying to hit? God’s Law and His Standards are the bull’s-eye that we are trying to reach. Missing His Target is what it means to sin.
Sin is ANY Violation of God’s Laws, Commandments, and Instructions
As it is Written: “Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4 KJV; cf. Romans 7:7; Hosea 8:1; Daniel 9:11; Isaiah 5:20-24).
Without knowing and respecting God’s Standards, you have no way of knowing whether your hitting the bull’s-eye, or you’re missing the Target completely. God’s law is there to show us what the bull’s-eye looks like that we are trying to hit.
- YHWH’s Law and Commandments reveals my own heart to me. (Deuteronomy 8:2-3; Hebrews 4:12-13; James 1:19-25; John 8:34-41; Hebrews 3:13-15). In which ever areas I am not yet able to obey Abba-YAH’s Commandments, then I have a living demonstration that I’m not completely set free in that area of my life. I can then clearly see that I need healing, redemption, renewal or restoration in that portion of my life.
As It Is Written: “And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD. (Deuteronomy 8:2–3 NKJV)
- YHWH’s Law highlights, my CONTINUING need for the Redeemer & Savior. When you try to obey the commandments, and you fall short, this reveals where your weaknesses truly are. It is much too easy for people to get complacent and comfortable, and to deceive ourselves. We don’t see where we need rescuing until we are confronted with our sin and weaknesses. Israel did it back in Messiah’s day, and modern Christians today do the same thing. Back in Messiah’s day, people often ignored the written Commandments of God because their tradition told them that as long as they followed their rabbis and Jewish tradition, they would automatically be saved because they were descendants of Abraham. That was a FALSE doctrine of rabbinical Judaism in Messiah’s day. Messiah’s reply was clear. If you were really descended from Abraham, then you would do as Abraham did, (John 8:34-39 cf. Matthew 3:9; cf. Genesis 26:5). The idea was that they were supposed to examine themselves, compare themselves with the way Abraham lived and interacted with YHWH, and then they would notice when they weren’t living correctly and could repent. Notice that in the New Testament, Christians are told to apply the same principle. We’re told to compare ourselves with Messiah and we will know that if we are not walking in the same manner as Messiah walked, we should likewise repent, (cf. 1 John 2:6). The point is that when you remove the standard it is easy to deceive yourselves into thinking that you are okay, or into thinking that you are doing better than you are; but when you routinely compare yourself with the established Standard, (in this case the Torah and how Messiah walked), then you can see how you are actually doing and then you can come to the Savior for healing when you see that you’re coming up short.
Once we learn and practice measuring ourselves by God’s True Standards, (which are clearly defined in His Laws, Commandments and Instructions), there is NO WAY that you can rightly believe that you have not sinned. There is no possible way that you could rightly believe that you’re going to establish your own righteousness. You’re going to have no doubt of your ongoing need for the Savior, once you recognize how short you come from meeting His Standards.
I cannot honestly say that everything that I think, say, and do is done in perfect love all the time. I cannot say that everything that I think, say, and do is done in perfect faith toward YHWH and toward Messiah every moment. I cannot honestly say that everything that I think, say, and do is done in perfect obedience to every Commandment of God, and in obedience to every single Commandment of Messiah, every time. I cannot honestly say that everything that I think, say, and do is done with honest intent to purposely honor and glorify God all the time. I cannot honestly say that everything that I think, say, and do is done in perfect alignment with everything good that God has ever taught me to do.
Anybody who foolishly believes that they do not sin, has come to that delusion because they have ignored and neglected to retain the Commandments of God. Once you know and respect what God’s Real Standards are, then there is not a chance that you will believe that you don’t miss His Standards. God’s Law highlights God’s standards. It highlights how often you MISS His Standards, and that remind you of your ongoing and continuing need for the Savior.
- YHWH’s Law highlights and defines the consequences for continuing in sin (Deuteronomy 24:16; Ezekiel 18:4; Romans 6:23; Romans 8:5-8).
As It Is Written: ““Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.(Ezekiel 18:4 NKJV)
- Sin breaks our fellowship with YHWH and with Messiah and others, (Exodus 33:3;
- Sin Causes Love to Grow Cold
- Sin leads to captivity bondage slavery, including the captivity of deception
- Sin leads to death;
- Sin leads to everlasting torment and separation from YHWH and His Loving Presence; So, either we will learn to progressively separate ourselves from sin, or our sin will progressively separate us from YHWH. We can cover each one of those a detail in other podcasts, but the point is that God’s Laws, Commandments and Instructions, reminds us of the dangerous consequences of not overcoming sin, (i.e. Romans 8:5-8). Overcoming sin is a life-and-death issue, even according to the New Testament, whether we like it or not.
- YHWH’s Law highlights the benefits blessings and rewards of obeying Him. (Deuteronomy 4:40; Leviticus 18:5; Psalm 19:7-14; Ezekiel 18:21-23; Joshua 1:7-8; Psalm 1:1-3; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9).
As It Is Written: “You shall therefore keep His statutes and His commandments which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which the LORD your God is giving you for all time.” (Deuteronomy 4:40 NKJV)
As It Is Written: “Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever! (Deuteronomy 5:29 NKJV)
- God’s Law gives us training and a working model and instructions on HOW to LOVE YHWH, (Deuteronomy 5:29; Deuteronomy 7:9; 1 John 2:1-6; 1 John 5:3). 18 times throughout the Whole Testament of Scripture loving YHWH the Almighty Creator is directly linked to KEEPING His Commandments. Truthfully, there is no getting around it. You simply CANNOT love YHWH the Almighty Creator, unless you learn and KEEP His Commandments.
As It Is Written: ““Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments; (Deuteronomy 7:9 NKJV)
As It Is Written: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. (1 John 5:3 NKJV)
- God’s Law gives us training and a working model and instructions on HOW to LOVE our Neighbor as ourselves. In other words, what does it really look like to love your neighbor as yourself? How does that function in a practical way throughout your day-to-day living? If you truly want to love your neighbor as yourself learning and keeping the Commandments of YHWH gives you the training on how to do that in a practical way. In fact every single Commandment that you will see in Scripture will fit into one of two columns. Keeping the commandment is intended to train you how to love YHWH more perfectly. Or, keeping the commandment is intended to train you how to love your neighbor as yourself more perfectly (1 John 5:2-3).
- YHWH’s Law provides a reliable measurement for my growth as a believer (1 John 2:3-6; 1 John 5:1-3). When I am able to truly keep the Commandments of Yahweh Almighty, and it does not seem like a burden to me, then I don’t have to guess, at that point. I KNOW that I’m growing and maturing in love toward Yahweh Almighty through Messiah, (cf. Psalm 119:9; Hebrews 5:12-14).
As It Is Written: “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (1 John 2:3–6 NKJV)
Do Believers Still Need God’s Laws and Commandments?
Of course, we do! God’s Laws, Commandments and Instructions, DOES not and CANNOT cause our salvation. YHWH Almighty God purchased that for us, through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Messiah. We are not going to cause our own salvation by keeping God’s Commandments. Even Paul said that the Law is GOOD, IF we use the Law, lawfully. Just because the law was not designed to save you, that doesn’t mean that God does not have a purpose for it in the life of a believer today.
- Do we still need to learn and to understand the Heavenly Father’s Eternal Character? Of course, we do. Therefore, we still need God’s law, because God’s Law concretely defines God’s character, so we can recognize it.
- Do we still need to learn and identify what truth is according to God’s definition, so that we are not deceived by things of the false? Of course, we do. Therefore, we still need God’s Law. By comparing things to the truth, which is defined by the Law, we can identify things that are false. One of the reasons that we know that Jesus is the truth (John 14:6), is that He KEPT the Father’s Commandments.
- Do we still need to evaluate and discern between different beliefs to see whether they are truly sound doctrine or not? Of course, we do. Part of the Law’s function is to give us a solid concrete and unchanging definition of what sound doctrine is.
- Do we need to define sin the same way that God does; so that we can recognize our sin, confess our sins, and repent and turn away from sin? Of course, we do. That means that we still need God’s Law. God’s Law helps us to recognize what God’s Standards are, and whether we are in fact hitting or missing His Standards. We can’t confess and repent from our sins, if we do not recognize what God’s standards are, and if we don’t recognize that we have missed His Standards.
- Do we need to be confronted with the true condition of our hearts so that we don’t deceive ourselves, and think that we are healthy when were not? Of course, we do. The human heart is wicked. We can deceive ourselves, and think that we are doing better than we are before God. When I can see a commandment of God and I can truly obey it with love, with faith with obedience and with grace, then I know that I’m healthy in that area, but wherever I cannot obey God, or don’t want to, then I know that in that area of my life, then I am not as mature and is healthy as I believed I was. How I respond to the commandments of God reveals the true condition of my heart to me, so I can call on the Great Physician to heal me in that area of my life.
- Do we need regular reminders of our ongoing need for the Savior? Of course, we do. When we remember what God’s Standards truly are, we are not going to be self-sufficient. Recalling what God’s standards are reminds me of my constant and ongoing need for the Savior. Once I remember what God’s standards are, there is no way I can delude myself into thinking that I can get there on my own.
- Do we need frequent reminders of the consequences of sin according to God’s word? Of course, we do. We can be forgetful children at times. God’s Commandments, and His Laws are there to remind us that not overcoming sin has serious consequences attached.
- Do we need regular reminders of the blessings and benefits that come with obeying the Heavenly Father? Of course, we do. Part of the Law’s function is to remind us that obeying God produces blessings.
- Do you want to learn the mechanics of how to love YHWH Almighty God better? Well, if you do, then you still need God’s Laws, Commandments, and Instructions, because even according to the New Testament, the way we learn to love God is to practice KEEPING His Commandments. We learn how to love God by keeping His Instructions. God repeats the same principle 18 different times throughout the Scriptures, (both Old and new Testaments). If you want to learn HOW to love the Almighty Father. His Commandments are the how-to manual for developing that skill, (1 John 5:3; 2 John 1:6).
- Do you want to learn the mechanics for how to properly love your neighbor as yourself? If you do, then don’t get rid of God’s Commandments; because God’s Law and Commandments were given in part to provide you the mechanics for how to love your neighbor as yourself. You won’t learn how to do that as well, without recognizing God’s instructions for how to treat other people. That’s even in the New Testament, (e.g. 1 John 5:2).
- Do you want to make certain that your love is growing and that you are becoming more perfect in love? Well, if you have a brain in your head, and you have any genuine concern about your growth as a believer and as a disciple, of course, you’re going to want to make sure that you are growing and becoming perfected in love. The Bible, even the New Testament tells us that KEEPING HIS Commandments, is how we can be sure that we are becoming perfected in His Love.
These are the KEY purposes for YHWH’s Torah. I challenge you to review these purposes, and ask yourself a critical question:
Which one of these things can you really do without? Which one of these 10 purposes do not need to be fulfilled in your life? The truth is we need all 10 of those things if we are going to be effective strong disciples. Once we understand that we can see that getting rid of God’s Laws Commandments and Instructions would cause us to lose a lot of indispensable support, as we’re trying to become effective children of YHWH and mature disciples. So, it certainly would not be wise to abandon the Law & commandments of YHWH.
Practicing the Law of God, doesn’t cause my salvation, but there’s at least 10 OTHER things that God’s Law was designed to do, that I cannot truly live without, as a growing disciple of YHWH Almighty God and Messiah.
I hope that answers your question. Thank you so much for your kind attention. Shalom.
Brother Michel Lankford