Sunday, 9 February 2020
Question of the day: Consider this verse and the question to follow ... 1 Timothy 1:8 "But we know that the Torah is good if one uses it legitimately". What is the difference between the legitimate and illegitimate use of the Torah?
Answer: Notwithstanding the exhaustive answer Paul provides in 1 Timothy, let me offer my 2 cents worth. Then stack it up against the treasure in Scripture.
For most of the last 2,000 years, Christianity has missed the mark concerning the Law.
Rabbi Trail: Time for some definitions. When I say Torah, I means the 5 books of Moses. Other people may intend other meanings, so you should ask them what they meanby "Torah." When a traditional rabbi wants to refer to the 5 Books of Moses, he will say Sefer Torah. Sefer is the Hebrew word for "book", but that is how we refer to the Torah Scroll.
Frequently, rabbis will refer to "studying Torah." By that they mean the Talmud, which is commentary on the Scriptures (Mishna) and commentary on the commentary (Gamorrah). Many of the rabbis (I can't speak for all) call the Talmud "Torah" because they give it equal weight to the canonized Scriptures. End RT.
My friend, Jonathan Settel (https://www.settel.org/) taught me that people tend to be more comfortable if we refer to "God's Law" as "God's Righteous Principles." Who would ever think that becoming a believer means we no longer need God's righteous principles in our lives?
In fact, it's the way we relate to God's righteous principles that changes when we have a salvation experience. The flesh strives while the spirit delights. The flesh must perform while the spirit rests in grace. The flesh works while the spirit enjoys Shabbat. No wonder we have this verse.
Hebrews 8:6 "But now Yeshua has obtained a more excellent ministry, insofar as He is the mediator of a better covenant which has been enacted on better promises."
Let me wrap this up by getting back to my original question. What is the illegitimate use of the Law? It is not a club to beat on people. Then what is it? Galatians 3:24 "Therefore the Torah became our guardian to lead us to Messiah, so that we might be made right based on trusting."
How does the Torah lead us to Yeshua? By pointing out our faults. If we are without fault (i.e. don't know what sin is.), we don't even need the Savior. Without repentance (Repentance from what? From violating God's righteous principles.) we cannot enter into relationship with the one true and holy God.
2 Corinthians 7:10 "For the grief that God wills brings a repentance that leads to salvation, leaving no regret. But the world's grief brings death."
So let me close this short lesson by offering my explanation of this verse. Colossians 2:14 "He wiped out the handwritten record of debts with the decrees against us, which was hostile to us. He took it away by nailing it to the cross."
What was "nailed to the cross?" What are the "decrees against us?" Let me propose that the "handwritten record of debts with the decrees against us" is the ordinances of Temple worship. They include animal sacrifice and the ordinances of the Aaronic priesthood. Yeshua is the ultimate sacrifice. Everything other than Him finds its reality in Him.
Did I answer the "question of the day?" Well, yes and no. Yes, we did discuss it and offer some thoughts. But, no, we did not write the entire tome necessary to fully respond to this question. Still, for a small piece of writing, mission accomplished.
Rabbi Michael Weiner,