If anyone is competent to issue an opinion about Christians keeping Jewish Law, it is Paul.
He wrote 14 books of our New Testament. He was a privately tutored pupil of Gamaliel, the leading Jewish teacher of the first century. And he converted from being an ardent Jewish law-keeper to being an ardent Christian preacher. Here is what God inspired Paul to say about keeping the Law.
"For if there was no need of circumcision before Abraham or of the observance of Sabbaths, of feasts and sacrifices, before Moses; no more need is there of them now, after that, according to the will of God, Jesus Christ the Son of God has been born without sin, of a virgin sprung from the stock of Abraham."
Dialogue With Trypho the Jew, 150-165 AD, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, page 206.
“The Law is such a schoolmaster. Not for always but until we have been brought to Christ. The Law is not just another schoolmaster. The Law is a specialist to bring us to Christ...
Faith is neither law nor word; but confidence in Christ "who is the end of the law." How so is Christ the end of the Law? Not in this way that He replaced the old Law with new laws. Nor is Christ the end of the Law in a way that makes Him a hard judge who has to be bribed by works as the papists teach.
Christ is the end or finish of the Law to all who believe in Him. The Law can no longer accuse or condemn them.
Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians 3:25,
Keeping Torah is not for Christians
“But lest it should be said, If the law was of this use and service under the Jewish, why may it not continue to be so under the Christian state too, the apostle adds (Galatians 3:25) that after faith has come, and the gospel dispensation has taken place, under which Christ, and the way of pardon and life through faith in him, are set in the clearest light, we are no longer under a schoolmaster-we have no such need of the law to direct us to him as there was then. Thus the apostle acquaints us for what uses and purposes the law served...
The great fault and folly of the Jews, in mistaking the design of the law (Torah), and abusing it to a very different purpose from that which God intended in the giving of it; for they expected to be justified by the works of it, whereas it was never designed to be the rule of their justification, but only a means of convincing them of their guilt and of their need of a Saviour, and of directing them to Christ, and faith in him, as the only way of obtaining this privilege.
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary
C.I. Scofield, The Scofield Reference Bible. Torah
This was true of the converts from Judaism to Christianity - that they became free from the burdensome rites of the law [Torah]; and it is true of all converts to the faith of Christ, that having been made to see their sin by the law, and having been conducted by it to the cross of the Redeemer, they are now made free.” [from the law]
Albert Barnes, Barnes’ Notes On The New Testament.
The word “until” implies that the Law was not permanent, but provisional. The Law was given as a temporary provision until that which was permanent came. The Law was like scaffolding which is used only during the period of construction and then is removed: The Law was like the temporary walkways and walls in a building being remodeled...
The Book of Hebrews describes at length the superiority of Christ to the provisions of the Law (Torah), proving both the inferiority and the interim nature of the Law. The Law of Moses is just like the... spare tire [in your trunk]. It was never intended to replace the promises of God made to all men through Abraham. It was temporary until the promises were fulfilled in Christ.
Once Christ had come, the Law was no longer required. To return to the Law, now superseded by the grace of God in Christ, is as foolish as going to a tire dealer and asking him to replace your tires with GM spares on each wheel.
Therefore, the observance of the Law, as previously required of Old Testament saints, is now only an anachronism, no longer binding on the New Testament believer. Strongly implied in these verses is the foolishness of trying to “turn back the clock” to once again live under the restrictions of the Law.”
Pastor Bob Deffinbaugh earned the Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary. Bob is a pastor/teacher and elder at Community Bible Chapel in Richardson, Texas.
Dr. James Montgomery Boice, Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Galatians, pp. 466, 468.
Dr. Barnhouse was a prominent Presbyterian leader of American evangelicalism in the last half of the twentieth century.
But men are blinded. How could persons be more under the law than when they adopt the language of the Ten Commandments as the expression of their own relationship before God?
The moment you put Christians under the law as that by which they have to walk, you are doing the very evil that the Epistle to the Galatians was intended to correct.”
William Kelly, (1821-1906), Irish evangelical Bible scholar. Kelly graduated in classical honors from Trinity College, Dublin and was a recognized scholar of formidable intellect.
He assisted Dr. Samuel P. Tregelles as a Biblical textual critic and Kelly himself published, in 1860, a critical edition of the Revelation of John.
Norman Geisler, Christian Ethics, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1989, pp. 204, 206-207.
Dr. Norm Geisler taught Systematic Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary from 1979-1988 and was co-founder of Southern Evangelical Seminary in 1992.
It is clear from these quotes that the viewpoint that Christians are NOT under the law, that Torah observance is NOT required, is consistently the view of evangelicals for 2000 years, from the time of the Apostle Paul to the present time.
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This page updated October 5, 2014
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