How the Torah Relates to Christianity
By Dr. Victoria Sarvadi
God gave the Torah to His covenant people, Israel, instructing them on how to walk with Him. The Hebrew word Torah means instruction. Because He chose Israel and set them apart, He gave them detailed instructions on how to live and stay consecrated to their God. There are 613 commandments in the Torah, which include:
Moral laws – (Mishpatim) which relate to justice and judgment and are based on God’s holy nature.
Ceremonial laws – which are understood to be the customs or laws of the nation.
Yeshua often expounded on the Mishpatim, strengthening the ordinances of the Torah as it is recorded in the book Mathew;
5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. (KJV)
Mat. 5:21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. (KJV)
Many will say; “Oh, but now we’re under grace.” True, but God’s grace does not give you a free pass to sin as we see Yeshua illustrating the spirit behind the mishpatim goes deeper than just our actions. Grace is the free gift of the supernatural infilling of God’s Spirit that will begin to govern the believers either affirming or convicting them of sin. Grace sets us back on course of a dedicated life in Yeshua. And if we love Him we will follow His commands.
The 1,050 commandments of the New Testament far out-number those of the First Testament’s 613. Yeshua made it clear in Mat. 5:17 that “He had not come to destroy the Law but to fulfill it.”
Many Christians are confused and think that “to fulfill” means “to not be bound to” but on the contrary, it means something far different. Think of it this way; If the president of the United States were to proclaim that he or she would fulfill the words of the Constitution would that mean the president would “make void” the words of the Constitution? Of course not, in fact, it would mean that the Constitution would be upheld or enforced. What we must understand is that Yeshua was teaching the “Spirit” of the law. It is true that when we trust in Yeshua, we have been set free from “the Laws that were written against us.” These laws included the curses and even death, which are the consequences of disobeying the Ways or Laws of God’s conduct. The Apostle Paul calls this negative law “The Law of Sin and Death.” It is only through the Law of the Spirit in Christ Jesus that we are set free from the curse(s) of the Law.
How do we submit to the Law of the Spirit in Christ Jesus? It requires that we repent and confess our sin and stop with our own attempts to be righteous in our own power. No one can obey the Laws of God in the flesh but through a covenant with Yeshua (the New Covenant) we enter into a beautiful contract where sinners are forgiven as they relinquish their will and ask the Savior to come inside of their very being. It is then we become regenerated and made into new creatures as the Spirit of God integrates His nature inside of us. We begin to inherently do the things that Torah requires (the holy laws of God’s nature – mishpatim) as He rewires us.
Romans 2:13-15 says, “For it is not merely the hearers of Torah whom God considers righteous, rather, it is the doers of what Torah says who will be made righteous in God’s sight. For whenever Gentiles, who have no Torah, do naturally what the Torah requires, then these, even though they don’t have Torah, for themselves are Torah! For their loves show that the conduct the Torah dictates is written upon their hearts. (CJB)
He literally changes our nature. No longer do we want to do the things from the past. We begin to walk in the Spirit and live our lives by His Laws that he has written on our hearts.
Yeshua is the embodiment of Torah. He was the Word of God that walked this earth. He followed Torah perfectly and was not executed for disobeying any of its commandments. And that perfect, Torah abiding Messiah lives in us by His Spirit so that we can have the very nature of God directing and guiding us. This is not “head knowledge” or acting in our own power.
It is the power of God that changes our very behavior and moral values.
Didn’t Yeshua say in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commands.”?
Out of the motivation of love, we are to obey the commandments of God, and if God is in us, we obey them by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit (not by the flesh). Coupled with obedience, God will begin to place it on your heart to read His Word and learn His Ways. This new drive to learn will begin to renew your mind so that your mind comes into agreement with your spirit.
Christians must guard against a critical spirit, lest they fall into the same trap the rabbis did during the inter-Testamental period which carried into the time of Christ and even to this day. It was during the time period between the days of the prophets and the time of Messiah, rabbinic thinking began to change from “keeping Torah as a result of redemption” to keeping Torah to obtain redemption.
It is clearly evident in the Word that as we yield and submit, our God begins to write His Torah instructions on our hearts, our inner core, the very essence of our being of who we are. We begin to inherently desire to obey Torah out of love. This is walking in the Spirit not carnally or mentally assenting to the commands of God but with perfect Shalom carrying out His mitzvot (good works or deeds). We have been set free from the bondage of living out the laws of God in the flesh and have become new creatures able to allow the Spirit Himself (which gives us life), to walk a Torah based in love. We will be known by our fruit.
We’re praying this so that you can live lives that are worthy of the Lord and pleasing to him in every way: by producing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God.