Question:
Don't Messianics believe that we are Saved by works? Doesn't the Bible say we are Saved by grace?

Answer:
Messianics have always believed that we are saved by grace. When we talk about our salvation, there is nothing else that can save us but the grace of Jesus. We are very clear on that. Many people who aren't Messianics or Jews believe that those in the Old Testament were saved by the Law. But that's not true. How was Abraham saved? It says, "Abraham was saved by faith"- not works. No man or woman was ever saved by the Law. God does and has always looked at the heart of man, not at what he or she does.

It follows that Messianics aren't "under the Law" any more then any other regular Christian. I assume those in this forum follow the Ten Commandments. Did you know that the Ten Commandments are part of the Law? Does that mean that Christians are “under the Law"? No, but we have to understand that anything God tells us to do is for our own benefit. God gave us the Law so that we would know what is right and what is wrong. This is of great benefit if you think about it. If a stop light is good for us, and it's something that man has given us, then how much more are God's Laws good for us?

Matter of fact, I love the Law just as Paul said he loved the Law. What we don't like is legalism. People confuse legalism with the Law. Legalism is taking something further then it was intended; just as the Jewish Rabbis were beginning to do at the time of Jesus and many Orthodox Rabbis have done since up to this day. We aren't legalistic. We can't be saved by what we do and we don't follow the Laws of Rabbis. We follow the Laws of God, and there's a huge difference between the two.

Let me give you an example if I may. The Bible says, “do not cook a kid in it's mothers milk.” The Rabbis have taken this so far as to mean we cannot eat milk and meat together. See this has been taken too far. As a Messianic, I don't cook a kid in its mother’s milk - that's it. God said, "don't do it,” so I don't do it. No big deal. It has become a big deal at times when a "Christian" freaks out at me and screams at me "YOU CAN EAT A KID IN IT'S MOTHER'S MILK, YOU ARE NOT UNDER THE LAW!” I look at them like they are crazy. First of all, it seems I would really have to go out of my way to find a kid and cook it in exactly it's own mothers milk. Secondly, why do we have to go against what God has said in order to "prove" we are under grace? It seems to me the ones who are more extreme are the ones who freak out because I enjoy keeping God's Laws.

Let me back some of this up with Scripture (I'm sorry I'm taking so much space here, but I think it's very important)

Romans 2:12-13: “All those who have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and all those who have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who just before God, but it is the doers of the law who shall be justified.”

We often only hear the first parts of some of these verses, but let's look at the whole verse this time. This Scripture is clearly saying that we are justified by the Law. Now remember, we are not talking about salvation here. We are talking about what we should do AFTER we are saved. So, we are saved by grace but we are to walk by the Law. What is the Law? The Law is Torah (the Bible, more specifically the five books of Moses)

Here's another verse we should look at [1 John 3:4]. “Sin is the transgression of the Torah.” Here it is clear what sin is. What is sin? It's when you disobey the Bible. Isn't that what sin is? I don't know one Christian who would disagree with me if I were to tell them, “Sin is when we disobey the Bible.”

Now, does this mean that every Gentile has to follow the Law? No, it doesn't. But there are laws for them too, just as one of the others had previously posted here (they are called the Noahide Laws). So what do we make of the verses "we are not under the Law" etc.? One thing we have to be aware of is that Paul didn't have access to many of the words we have today. There wasn't a word for "legalistic" or for "legalism". When it came for him to say legalism, he said "law" and when he meant to say legalistic he said, "law". That's all there was. That's why it's confusing when we hear Paul say things like: "We are not under the Law," "We are Saved from the Law," and then he turns around and says, "Do not change one iota of the Law" or "I love the Law, it is good and just.” It sounds like he's contradicting himself, but he's not.

Again, Gentiles do not have to follow the Jewish Law; I want to be clear about that. But I look at it like this: if God tells His chosen people to do certain things and not to do other things - if I was a Gentile - I think I would listen. Let me give you one last example. God told us Jews not to eat pig. My dad showed me in a secular (not Jewish, not Christian etc) medical journal where they had done a survey of people who had a high pork intake and people who had a low pork intake. Do you know what they found? They found that people who had a high pork intake had.... lower IQs. Things that make you go hmm. Now, I'm not saying that if you eat bacon that you've become retarded or something! LOL But I am saying that there are reasons for God's Laws, and I think even the non Jewish Christians should take another look at the Old Testament and see if their theology might need to be revised a bit.

Rabbi Stanley Chester


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