A Few Good Bible Students
By Jim Huskins
Jesus proclaimed, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) This assurance is one of many reasons that most of us who grew up in Church are confident that those who nurtured our faith and guided our attempts at Godly living conveyed nothing but the facts. But is that the case?
My formal Bible education came from some of the most sincere, competent, committed Christian men imaginable, but I now realize that their understanding of scripture was filtered through their own educations. Their perspectives—though sincere—do not always agree with what the Bible teaches. In particular, I was taught a number of errors regarding God’s instructions for living—or Torah:
Torah is a “curse” that Jesus died to take away. God never intended for “Gentile Christians” to follow Torah. Sin, which the Bible defines as breaking Torah, is no big deal since we have “grace.” Righteousness, which the Bible defines as following Torah, is not required.
Since Torah—often called The Law— is one of the most discussed topics in scripture, should we not consider some of what the Bible actually says:
“In your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws” (Genesis 26:4-5.)
“There shall be lone Torah for the native and for the stranger who sojourns among you” (Exodus 12:49.)
“You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, YHVH, sanctify you. You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you’” (Exodus 31:13-14.)
“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the Torah of YHVH your God, which I command you today, and the curse, if you do not obey the Torah of YHVH” (Deuteronomy 11:26-28.)
“The Torah of YHVH is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of YHVH is sure making wise the simple; the precepts of YHVH are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of YHVH is pure, enlightening the eyes” (Psalm 19:7-8.)
“Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the Torah of YHVH! Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways” (Psalm 119:1-3.)
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6.)
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fully proclaim them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Torah until all is accomplished” (Matthew 5:17-18.)
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15.)
“Paul argued in his defense, “Neither against the Torah of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I committed any offense” (Acts 25:8.)
“Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4.)
“ ” (Revelation 12:17.)
“Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus” (Revelation 14:12.)
Keeping Torah is not about salvation. It is about Godly living. The Bible says that Torah is truth, freedom, delight, perfection, and a gift of God. Torah shows the children of a Holy God how to lead lives pleasing to Him. Since the Bible cannot contradict itself, then Torah cannot be a curse that Jesus died to take away. Which perspective is truth?
I am familiar with the arguments against Torah which universally begin, “But Paul.…” Paul stated repeatedly, both in his series of trials beginning in Acts 21 and in his epistles, that he never violated Torah. In those places where he appears to teach against following Torah, either he is being a hypocrite, or our understanding of those passages is flawed. Which is more likely? In any event, Paul did not have authority to revoke something that The Father gave to “all generations” and the Son said would be in full force for “as long as heaven and earth remain.”
Our nature is to cling to long-held beliefs even when confronted with contradictory evidence. Sincere Christians often say things like, “I cannot believe all those missionaries were wrong.” Or, “Surely my teachers know more than you do.” Or, “Billy Graham never said that.” That type of thinking got Jesus killed. Jews of His day expected a Messiah who would defeat the Romans. When Jesus came as a suffering servant, His own people rejected him.
The Bible is truth. What it actually says often challenges our long-held convictions. Second Timothy 2:15 admonishes us to “rightly handle the word of truth.” The only other option is to be guilty of Colonel Jessup’s assessment.
Colonel Nathan Jessup, portrayed by Jack Nicholson, was the antagonist in a popular movie released in 1992. During a famous scene set in a courtroom, Col. Jessup makes an oft-quoted statement regarding truth. My prayer is that, when we stand for justice, none who claim to love and follow God Almighty will have some form of Colonel Jessup’s accusation applied to us.
Obedient Heart Fellowship believes that the entire Bible is both true and relevant. We accept salvation by grace through faith in Jesus, and we attempt to love and serve Him by keeping his commandments. See Revelation 14:12. firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim & Beverly Huskins are members of Obedient Heart Fellowship. You can read more good Christian news from Jim HERE.