Why Not One Law For Everyone? (by Derek Leman)

Why Not one Law for everyone by Derk LemanDerek Leman, a messianic rabbi from Atlanta, GA in this guest post for Jewish Studies for Christians deals with an issue of whether or not Jews and Gentiles are bound by the same commandments. While there are other well-argued opinions, I am happy to present his post to you for your careful consideration and engagement. (You are cordially invited to visit one of his blogs “Messianic Jewish Musings” of this talented and prolific author. To do so, please, click HERE).

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Whose commandments are they? That is, for whom were they laid down as stipulations? Does that still matter or did something change, such as God issuing a new covenant that made the original commandments a law for everyone? Or did a new people come to God who were then transformed in some way, made to have the same relationship to God as this first people, the Jewish people?

The logic of “one law” or of the divine obligation of all people of faith in Messiah to the same laws as those given to Israel is usually based on one of a handful of arguments. Aren’t non-Jews grafted into the Jewish tree through Messiah and if so, doesn’t this eliminate the Jewish-Gentile differentiation? If a commandment is holy, then isn’t it unholy not to follow it? Since the Torah is the only ordered list of God’s requirements, it has to be for everyone, because God nowhere gives a “law for the Gentiles,” right?

People often base their opinion about the commandments on their experience and not on the Bible. I am not against the importance of our personal experience with God. It’s just that experience can be misinterpreted. It seems to be far better if we interpret our experiences with reference to the great ideas that are in the Bible and find answers which bring together Bible and experience.

So, for example, a Christian may experience a deep awakening upon discovering the joys of Passover and Sabbath and the rhythm of the Torah calendar. Likewise, eating a restricted diet can feel like intensifying holiness. And the whole experience of becoming a Torah-observer may feel like getting very close to God. Then, when encountering Jewish beliefs about Torah — that Torah is a covenant between Israel and God, not between the nations and God — such a person might feel as if they are being denied membership in an exclusive club.

I would like to explain why, in simple terms, God’s way is not one law for everyone, and suggest a middle path for non-Jews who want to have a closer relationship with Israel’s Torah.

First, it would be helpful if people would go back to the giving of the Torah from Sinai in Exodus 19. Would Jewish people be asking too much if we say, “Please keep in mind the importance of this event as something special between us and God?” When you read Exodus 19, can you not see God is making a covenant with the Jewish people? Yes, there are clever work-arounds such as “Gentiles were there too in the form of the mixed multitude.” But those tortured arguments look like a way to deny the simple truth: Torah was given as a covenant to Israel. The commandments are the stipulations of the covenant.

Second, what is in the Torah? Do people who want to read it as “one law for everyone” actually take into account what is actually contained in it? Many things in Torah no longer apply to anyone today, Jewish or non-Jewish. Do you need laws about how to treat your slave? Have you seriously entertained the idea of taking a war-bride after giving her a month to mourn her father? Were you considering stoning your rebellious teenager? Reading the Torah calls for some maturity in reading, some willingness to learn history, to see the difference between the ideal in Torah and the time-bound social and civil legislation it contained for an ancient nation in a barbaric world.

Third, when people talk about how they are “Torah-observant” or say that they “keep the commandments,” they mean only a handful of them. What they are really talking about is the observances given to Israel which the church has not made part of its practice: Sabbath, dietary law, circumcision on the eighth day, tassels on one’s garment, and festivals. There is no Temple anymore, so the laws about offerings and giving the tithe to the priests cannot really apply. But these few commandments that differentiate Israel from the nations — which can be referred to as the sign commandments, since they are signs of Israel’s uniqueness — are a cause for controversy. It may help (or maybe not) to point out that the Sabbath is specifically said to be such a sign: “Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations” (Exod 31:13). When God said this, it is clear the “you” was Israel, and Israel’s generations are still very much alive today.

Fourth, it is possible — and I try to get people to see this — that what is holy and required for one person is not holy and required of all people. One person — a priest in Israel — may not be able to attend a burial or walk in a graveyard. If the whole world follows the “one law” principle, none of our dead will ever be buried. One person — someone under a Nazirite vow — must avoid wine and even grapes and raisins. If the all-commandments-apply-universally notion is followed, well, we will all miss out on some great Cabernet and the joy of raisins in our oatmeal. Likewise, it is possible that Sabbath is a holy sign of Jewishness (just like Exodus says) and that it is not holy for Gentiles. It may be that Israel’s diet was restricted and this marked them as a different people in the ancient world, but that there is no reason why pork is inherently unclean — just as Genesis 9:3 suggests.

Fifth, it is fairly easy to see — but clever and specious arguments are used to avoid seeing what is obvious — that the apostles believed Jews in Messiah should keep all the commandments but that the Gentiles did not need to “keep the law of Moses.” They did not mean by this that Gentiles in Messiah were free to steal and murder. “Law of Moses” means the covenant stipulations from Sinai as a total system. It is clear in reading Paul that he taught his Gentile adherents they were not bound by diets and days and the use of flint knives to remove a foreskin. To many people, this makes Paul seem problematic, anti-Torah. Did it occur to anyone he was being a good Jew and interpreting Torah according to its true sense?

Sixth, it is also fairly easy to see that the church went too far in distancing itself from Torah and the Jewish people. Christian theologians regularly write about this and recovering the Jewishness of Christianity is standard form today in many circles. Yes, plenty of Christians remain oblivious to what the theologians and historians within Christianity are saying about Jewish roots, but the church has definitely turned a corner. It is possible now to argue that Christians practice a form of Judaism and to point this out entirely from Christian thinkers and scholars.

Seventh, it is often overlooked that Christians keep most of what is in Torah, at least what I call the ideals of Torah. Love God and neighbor is the ideal center of Torah. It is expressed in ways we treat the powerless, honor one another, serve those in need, form community, and repair the world. Christians have always been very involved in love and service and good works.

Eighth and finally, there is a middle way for people who want to keep some of Israel’s Torah without those same people denying Israel’s unique relationship to God. It is not necessary to say, “I am grafted into Israel’s tree and so I am virtually an Israelite now.” It is not necessary to say, “All the commandments are holy for everyone and there are no distinctions.” It is possible instead to adopt the philosophy of one of the earliest writings of the Yeshua-movement, the Didache (pronounced deed-ah-KHAY). The Didache came out of the first century Messianic Jewish movement and a few decades after Paul died, the Didache argued that Gentiles could keep Torah. It is possible to see that in Paul’s time this could have been dangerous, it could have rendered Messiah null and void. But after many Gentiles came in, it was possible some of them would want to live close to Jewish communities and worship with them.

So in the Didache, Gentiles were encouraged to “keep as much Torah as they are able” and to live in fellowship with Jewish disciples. The audience of the Didache, then, were Messianic Gentiles — as we often call people today who are in Messianic congregations or, even if not members of a Messianic congregation, live a Messianic Jewish lifestyle and maintain friendships with Messianic Jews. And the Didache does not encourage these Gentiles to simply act as if they are Jewish. Some distinctions remain.

So, for example, in Messianic Judaism today, Gentiles have a welcome place. The best practices of Torah will include making distinctions without discrimination. It is possible to distinguish and not discriminate.

And it is not necessary that Gentiles who choose this middle way should claim that all Christians must do the same. Living as a “Messianic Gentile” (or just as a “Messianic”) does not make a person holier. It is one way and God has many ways for people. The most important commandments are not Sabbath and dietary law anyway. To over-exalt these is to practice a form of cheap self-righteousness.

Jewishness is not a privilege. It is a responsibility. Jewishness is not a status of higher blessing. It is a calling to be a distinguishable people and to pass on that identity to children and children’s children forever. Gentiles who love the Torah should not try to erase Jewish distinction, to render Jewishness inert, to say all Messiah-followers are essentially Jews.

It does matter whose commandments they are. And the ideals of Torah apply to everyone even if some of the specifics are about Israel’s peoplehood. One law for everyone fails to read Torah according to its own distinctions. Being grafted in is a way of explaining how Gentiles come into the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant, one given long before Sinai and which included Gentiles from the beginning (Gen 12:1-3). God did not ever say, “I now take the commandments given to Israel and make them apply to all of Messiah’s people.” But Paul did show his Gentile adherents how they could derive from the Torah what was required of them. And like Abraham (Gen 26:5), it is possible to keep all of God’s statutes without having a specific law-code.

The Torah is not one law for everyone. But neither do we have to forbid people from keeping it. There is a middle way.

What do you think?

 

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  1. Bill Gaffney

    Daniel,

    We tend to complicate things.

    When Jesus is asked, “What is the greatest commandment?'” you know his reply.

    One of the great Jewish sages was once challenged to teach all 613 commands (mitzvot) while standing on one foot. His reply (in my words,) “The 613 can be reduced to the 10 words (commandments,) which can be reduced to 2, “Love God, love your neighbor,” all the rest is commentary.””

    Study of the word is important, but without applying it to everyday life it is just empty.

    The 613 mitzvot are all about love.

    This is what James is saying. This is what Jesus said. This is what the Torah teaches.

    Be well,

    Bill

    1. Daniel

      Bill,

      So James is encouraging us to build orphanages and provide for widows, is that it? Hmmm. That sounds positively Catholic. While it certainly is something we should do as a matter of course, it surely doesn’t sound like the principal thing a Christian should be doing with his time, does it? James does say that he is talking about what is pure and undefiled religion before God the Father, doesn’t he?. I think the natural man doesn’t need to have the Spirit to figure that verse out then. Everybody can agree that buidling orphanages and helping widows is a good thing and surely everybody likes people who build orphanages and help widows. Those activities are highly esteemed among men. One wonders why Christians would be persecuted? They seem like such likeable fellows. But see Luke 16:15-16; John 15:18; 1 John 3:13.. Are you sure it means that?

  2. Bill Gaffney

    Daniel,

    James 1:27 is Jewish and from Torah. He is saying observance for observance sake is pointless. One has to also do mitzvot, in this case care for widows and orphans.

    James would have been very Torah knowledgeable and would also have kept the law. The difference is he was raised “middle class,” which meant he kept the spirit of the law, not just the letter of the law.

    For anyone who is interested I recently purchased “The Jewish Annotated New Testament.” It annotates the NRSV. The annotations are by “practicing” Jews. I have found it very good.

  3. Bill Gaffney

    Cathy,

    I think there might have been a “question” to me. When I said Jews I meant all 12 tribes. Excellent comments to Daniel.

    Daniel,

    I asked the question because the Torah and the Tanach was Jesus’ Bible. Every one of His teachings can be found in Torah, which is not surprising since He said not one jot or tittle.

    You seem to be teaching replacement theology, which is bad doctrine.

    I have done the weekly Torah portions, including the commentaries for years, been in Bible studies and discussion groups with Conservative and Orthodox Jews and read and heard much teaching from the Jewish and Christian scholars of the 1st Century period. All of these match up to one another when it comes to Judaism, the law and the relationship between Christianity and Judaism. Your teachings do not. Could you be wrong?????

    1. Daniel

      Bill,

      Maybe you can tell me what this OT passage means because it came to mind when I read your comment:

      To whom will he teach knowledge, and to whom will he explain the message?
      Those who are weaned from the milk, those taken from the breast?
      For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line,
      here a little, there a little.”

      For by people of strange lips and with a foreign tongue the Lord will speak to this people,
      to whom he has said, “THIS IS THE REST, GIVE REST TO THE WEARY, AND THIS IS REPOSE”, yet they would not hear. And the word of the Lord will be to them precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little, that they may go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

      Isaiah 28:9-13 (emphasis supplied). I am not teaching replacement theology. For it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will remove ungodliness from Jacob,’ Romans 11:26. I just can’t wait for Him to do it, because you still don’t understand the message. See Isaiah 30:15; Matthew 23:37.

    2. Daniel

      Shalom Bill,

      To answer your question, I place as much importance on the OT as I do the NT. See John 1:1, The OT is clearly present throughout the NT. See e.g., Luke 24:25, 27, 32, 44; John 5:39, 8:25; Acts 13:27, and includes many revelatory allegorical representations, as well as Hebraic literary parallelisms in type (both synonymous and antonymous) and even actual events which are repeated in the NT. For examples of this you can compare 2 Samuel 19:11-12 with Acts 9:24-25, which Paul emphasizes here in 2 Corinthians 11:33, or you can consider that on the very day Moses came down from Mt. Sinai to give the Ten Commandments to God’s chosen people, about 3,000 of those people were killed (by the flesh), while on the very same day (Pentecost) Christ sent down the promised Holy Spirit upon God’s chosen people, about 3,000 of those people were made alive (by the Spirit). See Exodus 32:15-28; Acts 2:1-41. Actually, if you look at the details, it’s much more interesting because the events happened in a similar though antonymous fashion. In the OT account, Levite priests killed the 3,000 with their swords in obedience to Moses’ command, whereas in the NT account Melchisedek priests killed the 3,000 with the sword of the Spirit, (God’s Word/the gospel), in obedience to Christ’s command. See Ibid; Hebrews 4:12; Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8. These two events contain much instruction for battle, but the most important instruction is that to be saved one must first be killed by the two edged sword of the Spirit, (God’s Word), which both kills and makes alive. See John 1:1; Deuteronomy 32:39; 2 Corinthians 3:5-6. The letter of the Law kills by revealing to you that you are not a good person and right before God, but rather that you are a wicked person and wholly dead in sins and trespasses before God. See Hebrews 4:12; Ephesians 2:1-3. Only then, after God’s Word (the Law) has exposed to you the exceeding vileness of your sin, will your heart be made tender and prepared to be healed (hear the good news) so that you may repent and come to Christ for life. See John 12:24; Romans 2:1-4; Ephesians 2:1-4. This is why Christ reiterated that he did not come to call the righteous, but rather sinners to repentance. See Matthew 9:13; Luke 13:1-5. And it is also why he evangelized the proud with the Law and gave the good news to the poor (in spirit). See e.g., Matthew 19:16-22; John 4:7-26.

      In any case, it is in this way, and in others, that many teachings of the NT reveal the underlying meaning of the OT, and so instruct and exhort the believer in his walk with God. See e.g., 1 Corinthians 10:11; Galatians 4:21-31. Yet, it is also written that the NT reveals mysteries which God did not reveal to men in the past through the OT, or in any other form. See Ephesians 3:1-9. For an example of this you can look at Genesis 28:12 and see its meaning revealed by Christ here in John 1:51. But, in the end, it really doesn’t matter which Testament (OT or NT) you consider more important. Unless you have God’s Spirit in you, you cannot truly understand either one. See 1 Corinthians 1:18, 23; 2:14; John 6:45. See also e.g., Luke 16:31; Acts 8:34-35. Shalom.

  4. Snjezana Virag

    Daniel,
    Yes, that sound like love to the chosen one. Jesus said : ” who hath ears to hear let him hear.”
    I think You will find in what chepter.
    Shalom,

  5. gustavo vargas angel

    Daniel:
    I am not intending an argument here, but in Galatians 3, say, as I can understand, that the fruits from the spirit are for faith(listening with), because if you do not believe what you are listening is useless and stay under the law from which we all the believers have been liberated by Jesus Christ fulfilling the former pactum in the cross. Please, if I am wrong, make me know. Best for you.

    1. Daniel

      Shalom Gustavo,

      Please forgive me, but I am not really sure what you are saying and I would hate to answer without knowing. I notice your name is Hispanic in origin. I speak Spanish. Perhaps, if you speak Spanish, you can ask Dr. Eli for my email and then email me in Spanish with your comment. I want so much to understand what you have said. Shalom.

  6. Snjezana Virag

    Hello,
    Faith is a work ! “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness.” But how Abraham believed God ? By Work ! He simply done it what God has asked him.
    Joshua did the same, Isak, Jakov, David, Paul, Petar…so we do !
    Faith is God principle that involves action.
    When Jesus called Peter to step out of the boat in a stormy sea, Peter stepped out in faith and although the next moment began to sink, Jesus, raised him up. Without Jesus our faith is non effective. Without Jesus no one can be saved.
    But still there is a part of our resposibility and it’s called work of faith.
    So consider the tree. To make the tree grow, one vital part has to be under ground, under the Law that the rest of the tree can enjoy day light. But tree grows from the root.
    We learned that the lamb was slane before the foundation of the world. Why ? Because in every part of history time, God had right to give grace to the chosen one. He done it by faith, cause faith is immense gift of God. Actually faith is like credit card with God limits on it.
    The truth is that we are saved by God’s commission that Christ’s blood was put on our account. Thus we recognize that Law is good because it shows us the necessity of sacrifice. But Judaism teaches us the same, and that is why the Law is a teacher, rather Rabbi. It teaches us that we all need a perfect ransom for sins. One big part of Israel, according to God will still do not see that Jesus is the Passover lamb, ( because they are root ) but they know everything about the blood of the lamb, and they are using by faith. You can see that faith is a work. They also know that grace of God who covers the sin has to be paid by someone who is innocent and they are waiting for their Messiah in faith wich justified them. So, you see, faith justified those who are working by the faith because no one can trust nothing else that God gives him to trust. it is called God’s sovereignty.
    I live in a country that is the most chatolic country ( after Vatikan) in Europe. Today I saw a lot of people going around with the olive branches in their arms, and I was so sorry, becuse they do not know that they are like those branches, cut out of the tree of life with their ignorance and idolatry which comes when you are separated from the root.
    The Law was given after Pesah. So, Law is a guardian, keeper, educator, teacher…not an instrument of salvation, because blood on the door is poured., and Judaism knows that well. If they did not recognize jesus, Jesus certenly knows them becouse He is one of them.
    If someone wants to keep commandments he or she is welcome. The Spirit teaches us that God has prepared some acts of love for us to live and be blessed on this earth.
    But tree without root can not be even alive, nor fruitful. Christianity without Judaism is nothing but a dry wood. And Judaism without the Gentiles christians can not be whole tree. We need each other and to see that is what God is doing through faith which He gives us in this special, appointment times. But we have to do something about it , we have to live our faith because faith without acts is dead.
    God bless you all,
    Chag Pesach Sameach
    Happy Passover

    1. Daniel

      Shalom Snjezana Virag,

      I fear the root of the problem is that you have not yet fully understood the gospel of Jesus Christ:

      You said: “But we HAVE TO do something about it , we HAVE TO live our faith because faith without acts is dead.”

      Would you say to a loved one, “I HAVE TO listen to you, I HAVE TO be kind to you, and I HAVE TO be affectionate with you, because I love you?” Does that sound like love to you?

      The truth is that faith does work, but it works through love. See Galatians 5:6; 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 13; 1 John 4:8, 18-19; 1 Thessalonians 1:3. Which is to say that the root of faith is love (God) so that the outworking of that love is faith. See Philippians 2:13; Habbakuk 2:4; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (making clear that faith and hope proceed from love/God); 1 John 4:19. So you are right, we are created for good works, but if you read carefully you will see that we are GOD’S WORKMANSHIP, not our own! See Ephesians 2:8-10. In the end, God loves a cheerful giver (his beloved Son, love in us) and will never be pleased with those who give anything of themselves out of a sense of obligation or duty (which is anyone who is not in his beloved Son, and who therefore cannot love). See Hosea 6:6; Matthew 9:13; 2 Corinthians 9:7; Ephesians 1:3; 1 John 4:18-19; Romans 3:28; 4:6-7; 8:9. Shalom.

  7. Bill Gaffney

    Daniel,

    How much importance do you put on the Torah?, the OT?

    1. Daniel

      Bill,

      Why do you ask?

  8. Bill Gaffney

    D’vorah,

    I thought I should explain my last comment in a little more detail.

    Paul taught against a couple things.

    1) The attempts by the “Christian” Jews to have the Gentiles convert to Judaism before practicing Christianity.
    2) The attempt by some Jews (a minority) to enforce the legalism of the law.

    He never spoke against a Gentile converting to Judaism, provided of course, they remain Christian and weren’t doing it because they were obligated to.

    Be well,

    Bill

    1. Daniel

      Bill,

      Paul did, in fact, teach against Gentiles converting to Judaism, or any other religion which denies that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God!!! “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8-9.

      But Paul wasn’t alone in condemning any religion which denied the gospel, i.e., that Jesus is the Christ: “Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.” 1 John 2:22. See also 1 John 4:2-3; 2 John 1:7-11.

      Now, I ask you, does Judaism accept that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God? Do you now see what you are advising D’vorah to do? See also 2 Corinthians 2:6:14-18; 2 John 1:10-11.

    2. Daniel

      Again Bill, and to be perfectly clear, Christianity and Judaism are two totally contrary religions which correspond to two totally different and mutually exclusive covenants. One promises God’s blessing, the other God’s curse:

      “For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we (Paul includes himself) might receive the promised Spirit through faith.
      Galatians 3:10-14 (parenthetical supplied).

      Now truly, what part of “the law is not of faith” do you not understand? By affirming that it is OK for a Gentile Christian to convert to Judaism (for whatever purpose you can imagine) you are teaching gross error. See 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; 2 John 1:10-11. Please stop. See 2 Timothy 2:19.

  9. Bill Gaffney

    D’vora,

    What a beautiful testimony.

    By the way I don’t believe Paul, in any way, implied conversion to Judaism after Baptism was wrong, if the heart is right.

    Be well,

    Bill

  10. Brachah D'vora bat Avraham

    When I wrote my Rabbi (an orthodox Jew and founder of a yeshiva)I that as to: “my Redeemer Yeshua, the one I denied. I believe Him now to truly be the Son of G-D, and one with Him. “My Rabbi’s words in writing me were: “Bracha ,when you emerged from the Mikvah 23 years ago you received a precious Jewish soul that is irrevocably and inextricably part of your essence. You will always be Jewish and I pray that you be blessed with the strength, wisdom, and happiness to appreciate, understand, and practice the timeless truths of our beautiful Heritage.”

    One thing my Rabbi had taught me by my watching him was the joy of studying Torah and following God’s commandments. It is true that at the time I tried to do so in my own strength and to become acceptable to God, but now I know that we are acceptable to God in Christ and only by His strength can we in our weakness obey. He has credited us with His righteousness and perfect obedience, yet His Spirit causes us to hunger for His Word and desire His Will to be done in us, and causes us to delight in His perfect commands.

    I no longer think that I can merit anything by obedience (since I cannot fully obey and constantly fail), but to ignore those Words written by the finger of our Lord does not seem to be an act of love. I do think that trying to strictly follow rabbinic judaism (much of it derived after the fall of Jerusalem to compensate for the lack of the Temple) would be to turn away from Christ, and fail to recognize that He now seeks His dwelling place in us. His body is the true temple of God and as He has made us part of His body, so we are called to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. (Even after His crucifixion but before the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, the red thread on the day of Atonement failed year after year to turn white, indicating that the animal sacrifices were no longer being accepted, for the true lamb of God had once and for all made atonement for us).

    I also understand that the Jerusalem counsel decided that for the gentiles all that would be required was abstinence from illicit sex, food offered to idols and blood. (The last one seemingly no longer required by the church). This more or less conforms to the Noetic code formerly suggested to the Gentiles. However, having the circumstance of formal conversion to Judaism (after Christian baptism) I’ve been confronted with a dilemma. First of all to worry that the conversion in any way nullified my baptism, as Paul implies, and second of all to wonder what obligations I still had under the Law. I have come to the conclusion that just as God forgave the sins of Israel and the Gentiles through the sacrifice of Messiah, so He has forgiven me and that Christ has fulfilled the Covenant for me. At the same time I think that neither baptism nor mikveh are nullified. Further, that He calls us to serve Him in Love. To love Him with all our heart, mind soul and strength and our neighbour as ourself, and to walk in His ways as He has engraved upon our heart, and as He gives us His Holy Spirit to direct us.

    I voluntarily keep kosher not because I feel constrained to but because I want to. I cannot keep Pesach according to the strict laws, but I try to remove the leaven from my heart, to remember how He has made death pass over me by His sacrifice as my Pascal lamb and delivered me from slavery to sin. During the Days of Awe, I do examine my conscience and on the day of Atonement, I always take some time to pray and thank my Saviour for being my atonement, for reconciling me with my Father in Heaven. On Succoth, although it would not be possible in my current situation to build a succah, I do meditate upon the wonder of God who would tabernacle with us, promising never to leave or forsake us and, upon His return, to make His dwelling among us forever in the New Jerusalem. Etc. I have spoken to my pastor about my desire to keep the Sabbath in addition to my Sunday attendance, and he has said that this is a matter of Christian freedom. Again, strict rabbinic Sabbath-keeping is not possible for me and I think it would be an attempt to follow the letter, rather than the spirit of the commandment. However, I always use the day for examination of conscience, confession and absolution, remembrance of Christ’s entombment and trying to rest in Him by giving all my worries to Him. I minimize unnecessary work and try to avoid buying and selling. I pray that He would show me by His Spirit how He wants me to keep His Sabbath, for it was by His hand I was formed and all the universe around me filled with so much beauty. I want to remember and honour the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, my creator and sustainer.

    I pray that my Father will teach me how He wishes me to love and honour Him and remember His loving deeds and live for His glory. I pray that He will keep me from trusting in my own merits and solely on Christ. I pray that He will form the mind and image of Christ in me and keep me faithful by His faithfulness and that I may belong to Him and never be cut off from Him now and forever. I pray that by His covenants He will always be my God and I may be His child and abide in His love. I welcome all your prayers.

    1. Daniel

      Shalom D’vora,

      Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,

      “For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
      we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

      No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

      Romans 8:35-39.

      You are in my prayers. Please pray for me also. Shalom.