Do We Need Torah?

Psalm 19:7-11

The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the LORD is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the LORD are true,
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

Of course, not all of the Torah can be applied today: we don’t live in a theocracy, so stoning an adulterer does not apply; we don’t have a Temple nor an Aaronic priesthood, so the sacrificial system is not active; however, whatever we can heed, we ought to.

We are desperately searching for “the program” that will solve our dilemma(s) in the church today. How do we manufacture disciples/servants, not pew-fillers? Why do a majority of our flocks seem not to have latched on to “good news?” I believe the reason is because we have abandoned God’s divine program for life–the Torah. We can stop searching and stop brain-storming; our Creator already designed the program that will yield lives of maximum peace, the most fervent evangelists, the truest disciples–lives that will be light and salt.

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 1 John 2:3-6

  • The Holy Spirit wrote God’s Torah on our hearts; for St. Paul “walking in the Spirit” is a euphemism for walking according to God’s commandments.
  • God knew we needed the “memorials” or reminders that He built into Torah as a way of life, in order to successfully live a life of holy imitation; abandoning the instructions of the Designer is the ultimate arrogance.
  • Read Leviticus 23:2-4 and then read Hebrews 10 again. Note particularly verse 25 and tell me if it doesn’t strike you that these ought to be connected. Heb 10:1-18 establish that we have remission of sins by a once for all sacrifice. Verses 19-31 exhort us therefore to keep God’s laws with all diligence, lest we trample on the very Grace by which we have been declared guilt-free.

If the Church didn’t start at Pentecost but in Genesis 12:3, and if the Great Commission didn’t originate God’s missional purpose, but Gen 3:15 does, and if Gen 10 lists all 70 families that comprise all the families of the world as those destined to be blessed via Abraham, then perhaps we ought to re-consider the purpose of the Torah.

There is one standard of righteousness. That is, and is described in, God’s Torah. In fact, Yeshua is the Torah-incarnate. “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly beloved children.” (Eph 5:1)

When the finger of God (the Holy Spirit) wrote God’s Torah on our hearts, He was informing our conscience. How many of you would say that you are so in tune with your conscience that you know without fail whether a certain prompting is from your natural man or from the Spirit of God? If the Torah of God is what defines holiness and we are commanded to be holy, wouldn’t it be prudent to heed the holiness manual as we continue to be conformed to His image?

3 thoughts on “Do We Need Torah?

  1. Nate, you state:
    “We can stop searching and stop brain-storming; our Creator already designed the program that will yield lives of maximum peace, the most fervent evangelists, the truest disciples–lives that will be light and salt.”

    I really like this. Torah does foster the greatest peace (at all levels — individual, family, and congregational) and the “truest disciples” who walk in humility before God and His commandments. Can you explain, though, how you find the most “fervent evangelists” from Torah? I agree with you, and I would like to see you develop your thinking on this, just briefly.

    Kol tuv,
    Peter

  2. Well, I had two thoughts in mind when I wrote “the most fervent evangelists.” First, I was thinking that true evangelism is disciple-making, not convert-winning. Torah is all about a way of life as the primary thing, not a set of “beliefs” as the primary thing.

    Secondly, I was thinking of the Apostle Paul. Can one imagine a more “fervent” evangelist? And here is a man steeped in Torah. He sat at the feet of Gamaliel, for pete’s sake! When Yeshua enlivened the depths of Torah to him, it transformed him into a disciple-maker or what we would call “evangelist — a gospel-spreading machine.

    Let me go back to the first paragraph for a minute. I think it is important to understand that God’s design for learning is evidenced by Torah. God shows us what to believe by instructing us on how to live, what to do and not to do. We are to derive beliefs from action. Of course, this can get muddled if you start analyzing which came first belief or action…The point is emphasis, not exactitude. We tend to emphasize, teach the right belief-system and proper actions will follow. But God’s design seems to be teach the proper way/actions, and the proper beliefs will follow.

  3. Hello Nate,

    The imagery of “fervent evangelist” brings images to mind for me of the likes of Billy Sunday or Charles Finney. The importance of making disciples versus making converts is of immence significance. I look forward to further dialogue and action in this regard.

    Isn’t it incredible that a Torah-saturated student of the Pharisees would be the most successful minister to the nations? None of the apostles compare to Paul’s level of formal Torah learning. This is really significant as Paul is our model.

    kol tuv,
    Peter

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