Zealous of the Law

If we could go back to the early days of the church, and observe the followers of Christ during the time of the Apostles, most of us would be surprised by their passion for Torah, the Mosaic Law. The early Christians were zealous of Torah and we’re keeping it diligently, as well as they possibly could. (Ac 21:20)

According to the Bible, the original twelve Apostles who lived with Christ, walked with Him in Person and heard His teachings for 3 precious years, whom He commissioned to make disciples of the nations (Mt 28:19), never understood that any part of Torah, the Law of Moses, was abolished. (Ac 10:14)

These devout men, who walked in intimate fellowship with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, declaring unto us God’s way so that our joy might be full (1Jn 1:3-4), continued keeping Torah their entire lives, as if our duty to obey Torah was perfectly consistent with the redemptive work of Christ. (Acts 21:24)

These spirit-filled men were also deeply familiar with the ministry (Ac 21:18-19) and writings (2Pe 3:15-16) of the Apostle Paul, and were convinced that he also kept Torah as well as he could, and that he believed, practiced, and taught men to follow Christ the same way they did. (Acts 21:24)

Further, both historians and theologians verify that the idea of Christian’s having liberty to ignore certain kinds of Mosaic Laws was contrary to the beliefs of the early Church, only becoming common several decades after these early leaders passed on to glory.

So, the early Jewish believers, under the constant guidance and instruction of these original, spirit-filled Apostles (Ac 2:42), were all zealous of Torah, and the 12 Apostles as well as the Apostle Paul were encouraging them in this. (Acts 21:24)

In other words, the thought of Christ abolishing Torah, and relieving His followers of their obligation to obey it, was rejected by the early Church: it was considered heresy by the men who were the first-hand witnesses and custodians of the teachings of Christ Himself, and also by their direct disciples. Further, aware that Paul was often accused of promoting this specific, anti-Torah mindset, being very familiar with Paul’s writings and ministry, the 12 Apostles concluded that these accusations were false, and that Paul’s beliefs and practices were perfectly consistent with their own. They held to the Law as the very definition of sin (Ro 7:7), a blessing to all who keep it. (Ja 1:25)

How can these things be?

There is only one reasonable way to interpret these facts and remain consistent with both scripture and history: admit that Christ did not abolish Torah, concede that He explicitly tells us not to think this way (Mt 5:17), and acknowledge that the Apostle Paul did not believe or teach this either. (Ro 3:31) This fundamental error was introduced by ungodly men seeking to corrupt the Christian faith, and they did so very early in Church history.

The Apostle Paul himself warns us that this will happen (1Ti 4:1) shortly after he completes his ministry, spreading deception and  infecting the churches. (Ac 20:29-30)

And at the end of his life, the Apostle Peter himself, whom Christ especially commissioned to care for His sheep (Jn 21:16), precisely describes what we find here: some things Paul writes are very hard to understand, which the unlearned and unstable wrest to their own destruction. (2Pe_3:16)

So, those who aren’t zealous of God’s Law (Ps 119:20), who aren’t meditating in it day and night (Ps 1:2) and trying to obey all of it that they can (Ps 119:6), thinking Paul teaches us to live any other way, dismissing any part of Torah, are not rightly dividing the Word; they’re missing God’s heart: the Spirit of Christ in every true believer delights in Torah. (Ro 7:22)

Those who despise God’s Law walk in darkness (Is 8:20) — thinking they’re following Jesus Christ, they’re actually worshiping another Jesus, one the founders of our Faith knew nothing about, only to be trodden down (Ps 119:118) and cast away in the end. (Mt 7:21-23)

In times of such widespread and fundamental deception, we should all carefully examine ourselves, whether we be in the faith (2Co 13:5), and diligently ensure our election of God. (2Pe 1:10)

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13 thoughts on “Zealous of the Law”

  1. What follows below is the relevant substance of a debate about the relevance of Torah for today with a representative of a Christian apologetics organization who wishes to remain anonymous. I have omitted irrelevant detail and cleaned things up a bit, preserving the spirit of the debate as well as I can.

    I find his reasoning inevitable, given his presuppositions. I think the discussion may be edifying for those interesting in counter-arguments to a One Law position.

  2. Dear Tim,

    Thank you for your question: “How is it that the 12 disciples, who lived with Christ Himself and heard His teachings for 3 years, and who were commissioned to take His gospel to the nations, never understood that any part of the Torah was abolished, but continued keeping it their entire lives as if nothing about their obligations to obey it had changed through the redemptive work of Christ? (Acts 21:20-24)”

    Here are some questions for you:
    1. Why do you think all eleven of the original disciples continued to observe Torah after the Council of Jerusalem? Act. 15:1-29
    2. Why does the simple devotion Paul chose to display in Act. 21:17-26 suggest that he observed all the dietary and sacrificial sections of Torah?
    3. Have you read Galatians 2 & 3?
    4. Who is the pattern of Christian faith in Romans 4? Is Paul teaching Torah observance in that section?
    5. Didn’t Paul address your concern in Romans 3?
    6. Could you have misunderstood the New Testament? Please carefully consider these questions because your faith should be reasonable and based on facts, not hearsay or error.

    Sincerely,
    Anonymous

  3. Dear Brother,

    I have considered each of your questions (Qn, in response to my initial question Q0). I provide here my answers (An).

    Q1. “Why do you think all eleven of the original disciples continued to observe Torah after the Council of Jerusalem? Act. 15:1-29”
    A1. The fact of Apostolic obedience to Torah was so immediately obvious to me when I first heard Q0, even though I was of your mindset at the time, that I presume others can see it as easily as I did. However, it is said, “Obviousness is the enemy of correctness.” As you note at the end of your reply, our faith should stand on well-reasoned fact, not hearsay or error. I could not agree more, and I welcome the challenge to what has always been so obvious to me.

    I believe the following facts demonstrate my claim. With which do you disagree, and why?

    1. Acts 21 follows Acts 15, and the text is evidently arranged chronologically, so the events of Acts 21 follow those of Acts 15.
    2. In Acts 21, most (if not all) of the Jewish believers were part of a Messianic Jewish community that had been deeply influenced by the 12 Apostles, both by their direct teaching and also by their godly example, for many years. (“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Acts 2:42, etc.)
    3. Under this ongoing, spirit-filled, Apostolic influence, these Jewish believers were still very zealously keeping Torah, obeying all of it as well as they could. (Acts 21:20)
    4. These Jewish believers had heard rumors that Paul had forsaken Torah, in some significant manner, and that he was teaching other Jews in the Diaspora to do so as well. (vs 21)
    5. The Apostles, after conferring with Paul at length about the details of his ministry, became convinced that these rumors were false (vs 24), and that Paul was still obeying all of Torah that he was able to obey as a manner of life.
    6. To verify that Paul was indeed committed to being Torah-observant as a manner of life, the 12 Apostles asked Paul to participate with some of the local Jewish brothers in a Torah-based ceremony at the Jerusalem temple that would publicly demonstrate and affirm his love for Torah, and his commitment to continue walking in obedience to God’s Law (and also to the Jewish customs added to Torah, so long as they were not sinful, vs 21b), putting an end to these false rumors. (vs 22-24)
    7. By calling such behavior and attitude towards Torah “orderly” (vs 24), and in observing Paul’s willingness to demonstrate this attitude publicly, the Apostles were expressing their agreement with Paul, that love for and obedience to Torah was still godly and appropriate.
    8. This implies that the Apostles also still held this high view of Torah: they loved it (“O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.” Ps 119:97 ) and obeyed all of it as well as they possibly could out of love and respect for God (“Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.” Ps 119:6), considering it a delight (“Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors.” Ps 119:24) and a blessing to all who keep it. (“Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.” Ps 119:2)

    Your reference to the Jerusalem counsel of Acts 15 is expected and appreciated. Most Christian theologians hold your point of view here, but I believe this is due to a careless reading of the text, inappropriate reliance upon traditional interpretations, and a lack of understanding of both the historical and scriptural context. (I have memorized most of the NT, and good chunk of the OT, and have verified my position countless times through well over a decade of focused debate and prayerful research, comparing scripture with scripture, and considering opposing arguments in the strongest form I can find them. I continue to do so.) My understanding of this event and its implications is presented in this short post, No Greater Burden, which contains a link to a more in-depth article of the same title. Further, I think it is relatively easy to demonstrate historically that the early gentile believers (before 70 CE) were also Torah-observant, following the Apostolic example.

    Q2. “Why does the simple devotion Paul chose to display in Act. 21:17-26 suggest that he observed all the dietary and sacrificial sections of Torah?”
    A2. Your question seems to miss the context of Paul’s act of devotion, elaborated above, and why Paul was encouraged to participate in it by the Apostles. It was a public renunciation of false rumors accusing him of forsaking of Torah (“And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.” Acts 28:17), taken under the most solemn conditions. Departing from or violating the dietary laws was unthinkable for Jews of that day (“But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.” Acts 10:14) Thinking that Paul did this insincerely in order to appease men, pretending to agree when he did not, is to entirely miss the heart of Paul, framing him either as a deceitful manipulator/impostor, or grossly double-minded.

    Specific references to Paul’s general attitude towards Torah can be found in the following texts, and many others (emphasis mine, with links to related articles), “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” (Ro 3:31); “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man.” (Ro 7:22); “So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. ” (Ro 7:25b); “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” (1Ti 1:5) “But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully.” (1Ti 1:8)

    Q3. “Have you read Galatians 2-3?”
    A3. One must be very careful to understand the context of Galatians: it is not Torah observance per se that Paul is addressing, but Legalism, the belief that one must keep God’s Law in order to be saved. Paul is confronting a false gospel here (“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel.” Ga 1:6), not the heart attitude that wants to keep Torah in simple obedience to and love for God. All of Paul’s statements must be understood in this light, and in the context of the legalism of the Judaizers he was combatting, or it is very easy to misunderstand him, as Peter affirms. (“As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” 2Pe 3:16)

    Q4. “Who is the pattern of Christian faith in Romans 4? Is Paul teaching Torah observance in that section?”
    A4. Abraham’s faith is the primary topic of Romans 4, but I see no indication that he is the general pattern of Christian faith, or that we are to use Abraham as a general pattern of holiness in our walk with Christ (he was a polygamist and repeatedly deceptive), or how this relates to our topic. Romans 4 does establish that the Gospel is not new, that it did not begin or change at the time of Christ, but it does not directly address Torah observance. To your question, I would answer that Christ Himself is the pattern of Christian faith (“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” 1Pe 2:21), and He kept Torah perfectly. He also encouraged us all to keep it as well as we are able, and to teach others to do the same. (“Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Mt 5:19”)

    Q5. “Didn’t Paul address your concern in Romans 3?”
    A5. Paul is not discouraging simple Torah observance out of love for God anywhere in Romans, or in any of his other epistles. Again, Paul is confronting legalism (“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” Ro 3:28), not redefining sin and holiness. (“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” Ro 7:7)

    Q6. “Could you have misunderstood the New Testament?”
    A6. Yes, of course, this is certainly possible, and it is thoughtful, sincere men such as yourself who disagree with me who are the most capable of being used of God to help me see this. Any and all challenges to my understanding are most welcome and thoughtfully considered.

    But your penetrating question does go both ways, does it not? Are you, my brother, open to the possibility that you might have misunderstood the NT? What do you have to lose by giving up your theological position? What would this cost you? Are you, in fact, a neutral, unbiased witness? Are you willing to keep Torah, all of it that you can, if that is indeed still God’s definition of holiness? How do you know if you are?

    At one time, I did hold your position, and it would easily be more convenient for me, in the short term anyway, to return to it. But once we really see something this fundamental and precious in Scripture, once our eyes are finally opened to it after much prayer, study and meditation, we cannot un-see it. I see it everywhere in the Word now, literally all over the place.

    What makes you think (if you do) that Christ came to start a new religion? What need was there for one? Doesn’t Romans 4, noted above, teach us plainly that the true Gospel is an Old Testament Gospel, entirely compatible with obedience to Torah? (“For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” He 4:2) If we aren’t preaching that Gospel, then aren’t we preaching a false one? Didn’t Christ plainly say, “Salvation is of the Jews”, and that He didn’t come to destroy or abolish Torah? (“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Mt 5:17-18) How do you integrate this into your faith?

    In Christ,
    Tim

  4. Dear Tim,

    Over time, God has changed how believers should interact with Himself. For example, consider the priesthood: God decides who is a priest. When Noah was alive, the authorized priest was the oldest son in the family. After Sinai, Levites were the priests to all believers in the world; No one else was qualified before God.

    So, the rules believers lived under before Moses were different than the rules believers lived under after Mount Sinai. And the priesthood changed again on the day of Pentecost. (He 5:1 – 10:18) Now, every believer in Christ is a priest. (1Pe 2:2-10) And since the priesthood is no longer a Levitical system, the laws we are expected to observe are different.

    We now have a much higher standard to obey than Torah; believers are now Royal High Priests with free access to God’s throne.

    This view is often called “Dispensationalism.”

    Sincerely,
    Anonymous

  5. Dear Brother,

    Thanks for your explanation of Dispensationalism, and for providing an example of it in the way that the concept of priest has been progressively revealed over time. This is certainly interesting, but you have not actually answered my question.

    My original question presumes that it is clear from scripture that the 12 apostles did not hold your dispensational view of the irrelevance of the “ceremonial” and “civil” laws of Torah for the Christian after the resurrection of Christ. I feel the scripture is so clear on this point, from the details in Acts 21:19-24, that I don’t understand how one might explain it while holding a dispensational point of view.

    In your initial email, you asked me why I thought this was implied in the scripture. I answered with an eight-point outline demonstrating this from the scripture, and asked you to show me which of those eight points you disagreed with.

    So, would you either admit that apostolic behavior exposes an inconsistency in your Dispensational theology, and begin to question what you have been taught, or explain how the behavior of the apostles in Acts 21 is consistent with it?

    In Christ,
    Tim

  6. Dear Tim,

    In Acts 10 God taught Peter that the dietary code was abolished. (Ac 10:43)

    Acts 21 is simply a description of what happened; Scripture records the stupidity of believers as well as their successes. In this case, the behavior of the Apostles was inappropriate. Paul, for his part in it, was disobedient; God had repeatedly told him not to go up to Jerusalem, but Paul went anyway and was punished for it. Paul obviously made a mistake trying too hard to not offend his Jewish brethren.

    The phrase, “obeyed all of it (Torah) as well as they could” is also inappropriate: either one obeys all of the Mosaic Law or one is a “transgressor” of the whole Law. (Ja 2:10) “Keeping as much of the Law as you can” is nonsense. God accepts nothing but perfection; He will not tolerate sin or disobedience of any kind. How much “keeping as much as you can” of the Torah is enough?

    Sincerely,
    Anonymous

  7. Dear Brother,

    Just to make sure I am understanding you correctly, are you agreeing with me that the scriptures teach us in Acts 21 that the apostles and the early Jewish believers were still zealous of Torah, and that the apostle Paul publicly aligned with them in this? And are you asserting that this apostolic behavior, including Paul’s in this case, was stupid and inappropriate?

    If not, would you please clarify?

    In Christ,
    Tim

  8. Dear Tim,

    It took some time for the early church to understand that their traditional Jewish practices had become irrelevant. Acts records some of these early lessons the new church age believers were being taught. We should also note that Paul strove to be all things to all men, “as Jewish as possible” when dealing with his Jewish brothers (See 1Cor 9, written before the events of Ac 21 took place). Paul’s ministry was evangelism, so he was reluctant to offend, and lose a listening ear. The terms “stupid and inappropriate” should be replaced with “misguided” or “ill advised.” No one is perfect; we are all still growing and learning, even now.

    Sincerely,
    Anonymous

  9. Dear Brother,

    So then, would you agree with any of the following?
    [1] The general life pattern of the apostles was inappropriate and misguided, and ultimately quite harmful to the early church, since they appear to have lived this way their entire lives, in ignorance of their freedom in Christ, encouraging their Jewish brothers to live this way as well?
    [2] Paul deliberately misrepresented his ministry to the apostles when he told them about what he had been doing and teaching, withholding key information that characterized the core of his ministry because it would have offended them, such that they wrongly concluded that he was dedicated to keeping Torah, and that this was Paul’s intent?
    [3] The apostles were just too blind and/or dull to understand when Paul told them all about his ministry and teachings, trying to help them understand the new freedom that they now had in Christ. When Paul repeatedly tried to explain that they didn’t need to keep the obsolete parts of Torah any more, and that the sacrificial system was obsolete, they just couldn’t understand. It was so bad that Paul decided it just wasn’t worth the effort to press the issue, and decided to let them remain in their ignorance?

    Not trying to belabor the point, just trying to understand how you are really thinking when we look at this text in detail, before answering your other points and questions.

    In Christ,
    Tim

  10. Dear Tim,

    None of the three ideas you stated are accurate or true.

    Why was the Mosaic Law given?
    What were the intended purposes of the Mosaic Law?
    Paul talked about “using the Law lawfully” in his letter to Timothy, 1Tim. 1:5-11. What did he mean by that?
    Did Paul’s mistake in Act. 21 invalidate any “lawful” use of the Mosaic Law?

    Sincerely,
    Anonymous

  11. Dear Brother,

    Good questions. I will enjoy answering them, but I would first like to finish our current topic: your claim that the apostolic behavior was inappropriate and misguided.

    I agree with you that the three attempts offered to explain the cause of the apostolic behavior are wrong, but if the Apostles were misguided, I don’t see any other possibilities.

    Can you please elaborate, and provide a plausible explanation for their behavior? How could they have been misguided when they were fully aware of Paul’s teachings, filled with the Holy Spirit, and had been living in this same manner, zealous of Torah, since the Resurrection?

    In Christ,
    Tim

  12. Dear Tim,

    The early believers had not yet understood that the Levitical priesthood, with all its observances, had been fulfilled and superseded. (He 5:1-10:18) They did not yet grasp that Christ was the end of the Law for righteousness. (Ro 10:4) They did not fully appreciate what Christ meant when He told them to “observe all that I commanded you.” (Mt 28:20) What did Jesus command them? (Jn 13-16.) Did Jesus not promise the disciples they would be outcasts from Judaism? (Jn 16:2) Were the Jerusalem believers in Acts 21 outcasts from Judaism?

    What are the four purposes of the Mosaic Law? (Ga 3:19-28)

    Sincerely,
    Anonymous

  13. Hi Brother,

    In answer to your recent claims, questions and comments:

    1) Acts 21 shows us that the Apostles were in agreement with Paul about the fundamentals of the Christian faith, and that zeal for Torah is consistent with a proper understanding of it. Any theology that evolved later which is inconsistent with their behavior, such as Dispensationalism, must therefore be in error.

    Claiming that the apostles and Paul were misguided and/or inappropriate in their zeal for Torah is inappropriate because this contradicts scripture itself.
    —a) While it is true that a given behavior recorded in scripture might be inappropriate (e.g. Acts 10:14), the scripture itself will tell us when this is so. (vs 15)
    —b) What we are considering in this text is not merely an isolated, spontaneous incident, but the life patterns of the godliest of men, those inscribed in the foundation of the New Jerusalem (Re 21:14) and public activity intended to affirm these patterns as exemplary in the kingdom of God.
    —c) It is clear that the Apostles made mistakes in their ministry (e.g. Gal 2:11-13), but these errors are specifically called out in scripture, and the reasoning behind their correction is made clear. (vss 14-21)
    —d) Asserting that apostolic behavior in this context is inappropriate implies that the entire apostolic ministry was fundamentally and deeply flawed on a matter of central importance to the Christian Faith. Asserting that Paul’s behavior was inappropriate here, claiming that it is contradictory to his core teaching on the implications of the Gospel, makes Paul out to be deliberately manipulative, dishonest, and double-minded, something the scripture itself abundantly refutes.

    2) Hebrews 8:4-5 clearly teaches that the Levitical priesthood is still operational – it is not obsolete; for this reason, Christ Himself could not be a priest if He were on earth today.

    3) Romans 10:4 does not teach that the Law is terminated, but that the righteousness of Christ is the goal of Torah; the word “end” is from the Greek telos, “the point aimed at as a limit.”

    4) Jesus commanded all of His disciples to not think He had come to destroy, abolish, diminish or in any way abrogate any part of Torah. (Mt 5:17) He said no part of it would become obsolete as long as Heaven and Earth stand (vs18) He strongly encourages/advised us all to keep it all, even the least of the commandments. (vs 19)

    5) The purpose of Torah is not found in Galatians, but in 1 Timothy. The purpose of Galatians is to refute Legalism (salvation by works), so it focuses on the effects of the Law and how people typically respond to and interact with it, but it does not explain the actual purpose of Torah. Paul defines the 3-fold purpose (or goal) of Torah (same Greek word telos as in Ro 10:4) in 1Ti 1:5 as promoting in us:
    —a) love out of a pure heart,
    —b) a wholesome/healthy conscience (the ability to accurately discern good and evil), and
    —c) a genuine, organic, supernatural assurance of the truth (faith unfeigned).
    These goals are consistent with what Torah says about itself. (Ps 119:9)

    6) To use Torah lawfully is to use it for the above purpose; not, as most do, to try to earn salvation by good works (Legalism), or to try to exalt one’s self before God or others (egocentrism).

    7) Acts 10 – For this text to support abolishing the dietary laws, or any part of Torah, one must show that all animals in the sheet were unclean. This is presumed due to the fact that Peter refused to eat any of these animals, but the whole point of the narrative is to correct Peter’s basic understanding of uncleanness, especially as it relates to people. However, the text states that the sheet contained all manner of animals, all kinds of beasts and birds, etc. (vs 13) It is inconsistent to claim that “all manner” does not include clean animals; the sheet Peter saw evidently contained clean animals which had been sanctified by Torah (1Ti 4:5), but which were in close contact with unclean animals. Peter was evidently calling the clean animals “common,” unfit to eat, because of this close contact. God was correcting Peter’s understanding because this is not how uncleanness is transferred according to Torah.

    8) Acts 15 – For this text to support abolishing any part of Torah, one must show that the four Apostolic guidelines given to the gentiles are actually commands in Torah, which cannot be done: though these laws may be derived from precepts in Torah, none of them are explicitly detailed in Torah. The Jerusalem council did not address obedience to Torah out of love for God, for either Jew or gentile; it dealt first with Legalism, and secondly provided 4 Torah-based guidelines to enable gentiles to fellowship with unbelieving Jews and obtain access to the synagogues, where they could regularly hear Torah read and expounded. Any application outside of this context will necessarily be amiss. For further detail see No Greater Burden, and the comment following.

    9) “Outcasts from Judaism” Christ did teach that the Apostles would be put out of the synagogues and hated for His sake (Jn 16:2-3), but this has nothing to do with keeping Torah.

    10) Keeping the Law as well as we can. This is our only reasonable option and it is commanded. (Col 3:17, 3:23, Pr 3:6, Php 3:14-15) Since no one can keep the law perfectly, we can either ignore it entirely and do as we please, or do our best – there is no other reasonable disposition. (Re 3:15-16) God is evidently pleased with our sincere efforts to obey Him, when this is birthed in love and respect for Him, not in presumption to earn His salvation, love/acceptance and/or blessing. (Mt 25:21, Jn 14:15)

    11) “How much obedience is enough?” Wrong question; entirely missing God’s heart. The correct question is, “What kinds of sins should we commit carelessly, willfully, without concern?” The answer is – none (1Jn 3:9); not even the least of God’s commandments are to be neglected … ever. (Mt 5:19) There are, certainly, extenuating circumstances (Mt 12:3-5) and God’s mercy is infinite with those who fear Him (Ps 103:17); but He’s angry with all who despise His Law (Ps 119:118, He 10:28), this disposition identifies one as a child of disobedience (Ep 5:6), not a child of God. (1Jn 3:9)

    In Christ,
    Tim

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