Freedom In Messiah!

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            Recently someone who took exception to what I was teaching about keeping Shabbat (The Sabbath Day) said that I am not free and they want me to be free. What they were referring to, of course, is the modern view often referred to as Christian liberty. This is a doctrinal ideology that because of grace and the work of the cross we are free from the need to obey God’s Torah. There are, the religious crowd will tell you, “absolutes”. But who gets to determine what these “absolutes” are? Apparently, whenever you look at the views of those who push this stuff, these “absolutes” are only whatever the majority of Christians “absolutely” agree is sin.

            So, you know, murder is “absolutely” a sin and lying is “absolutely” a sin and homosexuality is “absolutely” a sin. But then when you get to things like the biblical Feasts, The Sabbath Day, or the food laws you cross over into Christian liberty and there is no obligation to follow these. They will tell you that there’s nothing wrong with doing them, if you want to, but they are not to be taught as mandatory the way the “absolutes” are.

            It seems that because I believe in obeying these parts of The Bible that are disregarded and written off by the majority I am somehow not free. Am I the only person that thinks this makes absolutely no sense at all?

            Today’s “Christian” better be careful with the acceptance of things prohibited by Scripture. The world today has already begun radically pushing for the legalization of murder in the forms of abortion and euthanasia. The world is vehemently demanding acceptance of anything listed in The Bible as sexual immorality, and I am not just talking about the general LGBT+ agenda. There are now very real efforts to accept and legalize such things as bestiality and pedophilia. You can find actual mental health professionals insisting that pedophiles should not be “penalized or criminalized” simply because of their “sexual preferences” and even saying that they should be legally permitted to engage in their sexual preference—WITH CHILDREN!!!

            The Christian Church had better WAKE UP! The Bible says that the end will be as it was in the days of Noah and in the days of Lot. If you read my article Desensitized you will see that these two events started with the acceptance by God’s people of consuming things (as foods) that he said not to and ended with the acceptance by the majority of earth’s citizens of murder and sexual immorality. There are already pro-LGBT and pro-abortion “Christian Churches” and if God’s people don’t WAKE UP we are only perhaps one or two generations from these being the majority view of Christianity just as the alleged “permission to eat pork and shellfish” is the majority view now.

            And so we come to a place where I want to make a declaration of my own. I want to “shout it from the rooftops”, as the old saying goes, even if my shout is a written message and my rooftop is the Internet and social media. What is it that I want to proclaim? That freedom in Messiah is never, Never, NEVER a license to sin.

            In the apocryphal book of Ecclesiasticus, chapter 5 and verse 20, it says, “He hath commanded no man to do wickedly, neither hath he given any man license to sin.” Many Christians today have been taught to avoid these apocryphal writings, but the reality is that historically they have always been regarded as profitable, just not divine. In this case we are looking at a statement from a writing by a Jewish scribe named Yeshua ben Sira, or Joshua son of Sirach, dated sometime around 200 to 175 B.C. This means that the book was written during the period Christians consider the “silent years” between Malachi and Matthew, a period of roughly 400 years from the closing of the final book in the Tanakh (“Old Testament”) until the writing of the first Gospel, Matthew, which some scholars now believe may have been written as early as 37 A.D.—only a few years after the final events of Yeshua’s life.

            And so here we have it, in an ancient piece of Jewish wisdom within the biblical timeline that we do not have any “license to sin”. So, what is sin? If you are familiar with my teachings you may already know the answer to this question: Sin is the violating of Torah (1 John 3:4, CJB). So, applying 1 John 3:4 to Ecclesiasticus 5:20, as it is appropriate to replace a word with it’s proper definition for clarity, the passage could be rendered: neither hath he given any man license to violate/transgress Torah.

What Freedom In Yeshua Is Not

EZ2014, Danilo Lewis, DLG, electric zoo            I recently caught a message by a ministry I follow where it was being discussed what The Bible is not. It was a great message on the necessity to read, study, and interpret The Bible in its proper context. In like manner, we need to understand what freedom in Messiah, often referred to as “Christian liberty”, is not. For this I will look at two passages of Scripture, the first from the Apostle Peter’s first epistle and the second from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the fellowship of Believers in Galatia.

Live as free people, but not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil. Rather, live as God’s slaves.
~1 Peter 2:16 (TLV)

            This is a powerful statement and in reality it is very freeing if you truly understand what it is saying. Seeing as “evil” and “sin” are essentially synonymous in the context of Scripture, I do not think it would be unreasonable to say that the passage is telling us not to use freedom (in Messiah) as a cover up or license to sin. If we again replace the word “sin”, having already used it to replace the word “evil”, with the primary biblical definition of sin the passage would then read: Live as free people, but not using your freedom as a cover-up for [or license to] violate/transgress Torah.

            The passage then tells us to live as God’s slaves. Think about that! A slave does not have freedom, and yet the passage is telling us first not to allow freedom to be a license to sin and then Peter says to become slaves to God. Of course, the alternative to being a slave to God is being a slave to sin. More on that in a moment.

For you, my brothers, were called to freedom; only do not let your freedom become an opportunity for the sinful nature (worldliness, selfishness), but through love serve and seek the best for one another.
~Galatians 5:13 (AMP)

For, brothers, you were called to be free. Only do not let that freedom become an excuse for allowing your old nature to have its way. Instead, serve one another in love.
~Galatians 5:13 (CJB)

            Ah, the Book of Galatians—a favorite of the religious crowd who likes to tout about their freedom from God’s Torah. And yet here we have a passage that says quite the opposite. Much like Peter’s statement, we see here that Paul is also telling us not to use “freedom in Messiah” as an opportunity to sin or to allow the old nature to have its way.

            As you may know if you are even vaguely familiar with the teachings of Paul, it was he too that said we are a new creation in Messiah Yeshua, old things are passed away and all things become new. He is also the Apostle who said earlier in this very letter to the Galatians that he was crucified in Messiah and it was no longer he that lived but Messiah Yeshua that lived in and through him (Galatians 2:20). Understanding these things, it becomes very apparent that his underlying belief in our current text is that being free in Messiah is synonymous with being a new creation in Messiah and with Messiah living in and through the true Believer.

            Galatians 2:17 says, “But if, while seeking to be justified in Messiah, we ourselves also were found to be sinners, is Messiah then an agent of sin? May it never be!” This would mean that a person who claims Messiah lives in and through them but continues to sin [violate Torah] is essentially saying that Yeshua is sinning [violating Torah] in and through them. Think about that for a while.

            Now, again, let’s apply our biblical definition of sin to the above passage (Galatians 5:13). After all, while it was John that gives us our definition, it was Paul who said that the Torah is holy and righteous and good (Romans 7:12) and Paul also harmonizes with John in saying that he would not have known what things are sin had it not been for Torah (Romans 7:7). So with all of this considered, we could render Paul’s statement in Galatians 5:13 to say something like: Do not let that freedom become an excuse for violating/transgressing Torah.

            Do not allow your view of freedom in Messiah to turn you into the very people Yeshua warned of in Matthew 15:8, saying, “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.” Yeshua also said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” What commandments? The only logical set of commandments to be promoted by a first century Jewish Rabbi would be those of Torah. John goes on to basically say, throughout his first letter, that claiming to love God without keeping the commandments (Torah) makes you a liar and the truth is not in you. Freedom in Messiah is absolutely NOT freedom from Torah obedience.

Free From Torah, Slave To Sin

Freedom 2For when you were slaves of sin, you were free with regard to righteousness.
~Romans 6:20 (TLV)

            In commenting on this passage the late Reverend A.W. Pink said in his book The Sovereignty Of God: “The sinner is free to do as he pleases, always as he pleases (except as he is restrained by God), but his pleasure is to sin.” Hebrews 11:25 refers to the passing pleasure of sin. We must always remember that sin may be fun for a time, but in the end it will destroy you.

            This false view of freedom in Yeshua being some type of freedom from a requirement to obey Torah is very dangerous and actually indicates that you are not free at all. So often I hear people say things like “All you say is ‘bad, bad, bad’. According to you a Christian isn’t allowed to do anything. Where is the fun in that? We have to live our life.” All people who say such things are doing is declaring that they are not free at all. The view that you need to be “free from The Law” is simply a declaration that you are a slave to sin. Think about it: If sin is the violation of Torah and you are declaring yourself free from Torah-obedience, then you are essentially acknowledging yourself to be a slave to sin.

            Teaching the Torah is not teaching “everything is ‘bad, bad, bad’.” Remember what I pointed out a moment ago? Paul says that the Torah is holy and righteous and good. Teaching the Torah is teaching what is good, good, good. Discovering what is bad—that which is in opposition to Torah—is merely a side effect of teaching what is good.

            Those who claim that promotion of following Torah is legalistic bondage clearly don’t know the first thing about The Bible. They are essentially declaring that God delivered His people from actual bondage in Egypt only to put them back into bondage a month and a half later at Mount Sinai. Then, if that wasn’t enough, they apparently believe that He kept His people under this harsh bondage for thousands of years until He finally sent Yeshua to “free us from His Law”. And why did He do this? Says the antinomians who promote this stuff: So that He could “prove” to us that it is impossible to keep His Laws.

            First of all, if that’s who God is, I wouldn’t want any part of Him or His Kingdom. Why would I want to serve a “schizophrenic god” with control issues who needs to beat his people just to prove something? (Notice I switched to lowercase in reference to “god” here because I absolutely DO NOT believe this is a correct view of Yahweh.) If we are allowed to do whatever we want today when those who were called the apple of His eye were oppressed “by God” for thousands of years, why would I want to serve a “god” like that? And why would you?

You CAN Be Free

Freedom 3She will give birth to a son; and you shall call His name Yeshua, for He will save His people from their sins.
~Matthew 1:21 (TLV)

            So much of the time people like to point to John 3:16 as the greatest summary of The Gospel Message, and as great as those words are I believe that Matthew 1:21 truly rivals that verse “everyone has memorized”. You see, it is here in the beginning of Matthews Gospel that our freedom in Messiah is defined, and it does not say that He will deliver us from “the bondage of The Law”. Quite the opposite, actually.

            He will save His people from their sins. In other words, He will save His people from breaking His Torah. That is very contrary to the notion that we are free from keeping Torah.

            Think about this. The Gospel is for sinners in need of a Savior, right? Why would a sinner in need of a Savior need to be made free from Torah? A sinner, by definition, is someone who is living in violation of Torah. Why would you need to be made free from Torah if you are not living by it in the first place? Are you seeing at all how backwards Christianity has become in modern times?

            A moment ago we looked at Romans 6:20, but what about the statements leading up to that verse? Romans 6:16 says: “Do you not know that to whatever you yield yourselves as slaves for obedience, you are slaves to what you obey—whether to sin resulting in death, or to obedience resulting in righteousness?” Think about what Paul is saying here—either you are a slave to sin or a slave to obedience. Obedience to what? Clearly we see from cover to cover in The Bible that we are to obey God’s Torah.

            Then in verse 18 it goes on to say, “…after you were set free from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness.” Having been set free from the bondage of sin, you become a slave to obeying Torah, which makes you a slave to righteousness. This is The Gospel!

            Then, jumping over verse 20 we come to verse 22 that says, “But now, having been set free from sin and having become enslaved to God, you have your fruit resulting in holiness. And the outcome is eternal life.” And so the progression is complete. When you decide to accept Yeshua as your Messiah and stop breaking His Torah as a result you first become a slave to obeying Torah leading to becoming a slave to righteousness and culminating with being a slave to God. And then the result is a holy life that leads to eternal life. Most Christians have been taught that they can somehow be a slave to God (spiritually) without a need to obey Torah and living in righteousness. But that is NOT what The Bible says.

            Freedom from sin is slavery to God and His Word. It’s just that simple. But you are either a slave to sin or a slave to God and His Word. And seeing as sin is the violation of Torah, if you do not believe in keeping Torah you are a slave to sin, not to God and His Word, and that is not a good place to be.

            So much of the time I hear people express a concern that people teaching Torah are not focused on The Gospel. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Gospel IS obedience to Torah. The entire purpose of The Gospel is to restore human persons to a pre-fall state, which would be a sinless state of being where we WANT to obey Torah. If you do not want to obey Torah, are you sure you have received Yeshua as Messiah?

            Remember, Yeshua warned that there would be false messiahs rise up. Paul went on to warn against a counterfeit of Yeshua, a counterfeit of The Gospel, and a counterfeit of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 11:4). If your perception of Yeshua, The Gospel, and God’s Holy Spirit are not leading you to obey God’s Torah, you have probably embraced the very counterfeit that Paul warned of and need to find real salvation.

            If sin is the violation of God’s Torah and you actually want to violate God’s Torah, how is it that you claim to be saved? I really don’t get it. How is it that people claim they are saved but they believe they need not follow Torah when The Bible defines salvation as being from sin and defines sin as the violation of Torah? There’s really no logic in this, and yet it is the view of the masses.

            Need I remind you that The Bible says the path to heaven is narrow and only a few people ever find it? Guide your Christian walk off of the example of the Christian majority if you want to, they will take you to hell with them. And when you look over at me in horror as angelic beings shackle you and drag you to a lake of fire that burns forever—whether figurative or literal, it will not be a pleasant place to be—the only thing I will be able to do is look back and say: “I tried to warn you.”

            Get free! I mean, really get free. Make a determination that you are going to submit wholly and holy to God Almighty and live according to His Word. If you ever actually get free from sin you will not call the free people crazy religious fanatics anymore. You will be one of them. But you will be happier than you have ever been in your life.

You will love The Bible and the God of The Bible in a way that few ever get to experience. But you have to make that decision. You have to determine in your heart that you want The Master to write His Torah on your heart (Jeremiah 31, Hebrews 8) and be free from sin once and for all. How bad do you want your freedom?

~Blessings and Shalom~

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