One Law

In ancient Israel, when those from other nations dwelt among God’s people, they all had the same moral obligations; there was one law for everyone. We call it Torah, God’s instructions; it includes the Mosaic laws in Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy. No difference was made between Jew and Gentile. (Nu 15:15-16)

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I believe Torah, this same set of ancient laws, is timeless (Ps 119:160), defining holiness and sin for us today (1Jn 3:4); each one rooted in the eternal nature and character of God (1Pe 1:16)His testimony of metaphysical reality.

No one has ever been saved by keeping Torah (Ro 3:28); it’s purpose is to reveal God’s standard of holiness for His people. (1Ti 1:5) Since all of Torah is profitable for instruction in righteousness, thoroughly equipping us all to good works (2Ti 3:16-17), I believe all of Torah is generally applicable for every people group and culture for all time (Mt 5:19), for Jew and Gentile alike. (Mi 4:2)

When we willfully break any of these laws we’re guilty of breaking the Law as a whole, in its entirety (Ja 2:10-11), and we grieve and anger God. (He 10:26) God commands us to hide the words of His Law in our heart (De 6:6), and exhorts us to delight His Law and to meditate on it all the time. (Ps 119:97)

A general proof of this One Law concept is relatively straightforward: [1] Christ teaches Torah will be obligatory, relevant and applicable as long as Heaven and Earth remain. (Mt 5:17-18) [2] He also affirms that every single command in Torah has intrinsic moral significance as an expression and reflection of the one supreme moral standard: loving God with our whole heart, soul and mind, and our neighbors as ourselves. (Mt 22:36-40) [3] And finally, Christ commands His Jewish disciples to teach all nations to observe and obey all things whatsoever He has commanded them (Mt 28:19-20); God makes no Jew-Gentile distinctions in His commands.

Objection to One Law is nearly universal in Christianity, and generally passionate, opposing these basic principles by presuming that certain Torah commands have no timeless, intrinsic moral value, and then either [1] claiming Christ has abolished Torah altogether, or [2] arbitrarily classifying God’s laws into types (e.g. moral, ceremonial, civil, etc.), and presuming that certain kinds of laws (e.g. ceremonial and civil) apply only to Jews and not to Gentiles.

Motivation for opposing One Law is simple: the carnal mind is enmity against God and cannot be subject to Torah (Ro 8:7); our unregenerate nature cannot perceive Torah’s intrinsic moral value. But as we believe on Christ and partake in the New Covenant, God gives us new hearts (Eze 36:26) and begins to write Torah into our minds and hearts (He 8:10), putting His spirit within us and causing us to walk in His ways (Eze 36:27), moving in our inward man to delight in Torah. (Ro 7:22) As we grasp its immeasurable value (Ps 119:72), how it reveals the nature of God and Man (Ps 119:130), how all who delight in it are blessed (Ps 1:2-3), we’ll never strategize to limit its applicability or scope.

Many different scriptures are used to refute One Law, but I find that each one must be wrested from context to do so. (2Pe 3:16) So far, all opponents I have seen don’t consider that each text can easily be interpreted consistently with One Law, and ignore or superficially dismiss the key texts supporting One Law.

I think the definition of sin and holiness is one of the most important topics we can discuss; without holiness no one will see God. (He 12:14) Since my position here appears to be so unique, and since variations of the opposing viewpoint are so widely and passionately held, I invite and encourage any one to challenge me, and to engage in respectful, constructive dialogue for our mutual edification.

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6 thoughts on “One Law”

  1. I totally agree with all this apart from flinching at the use of “Christ” rather than Yeshua!! The big mystery is why in Acts 15: 1- 31 Peter (with others) decides that gentile believers did not have to keep the whole Torah. Of course gentiles can never be Jews (you are born Jewish, as you are born Italian) but if gentiles believe and are grafted to the Children of Israel, they are serving The G-d of Israel, who says same law for both. Numbers 15:15

    1. Thank you for your comments Frances. Glad you also see this. I’m curious if the article was helpful in changing your mind about anything, or if you already believed this prior to reading the article.

      I am also curious as to your concern about the use of “Christ” vs “Yeshua.” I think both are valid names/titles for our Messiah so I use them interchangeably. I tend to prefer the term “Christ” as I think most of my audience will not be messianic but more traditionally Christian. What bothers you about this?

  2. I did not disagree with anything you said, and it was just so refreshing to read something that I have held dear to my heart for a long time.
    I despair of gentile and Jewish believers who come out with the “we are not under The Law” mantra. I know we are not saved by “keeping” The Law. The L-rd G-d of Israel knew that no-one could keep the whole law, we are indeed saved by grace….BUT…if we truly believe that G-d so loved the world that He sent his only son, to come and bear our sins once and for all, surely our response is….”how can we please our Father?” It is so obvious how, this week’s Torah Portion tells us again……it blesses G-d if we keep His Word, it blesses us if we keep His Word, how else do we know how to live if we dump The Torah. Do we make up a new “Way”???
    My reason for not liking the use of “Christ” is because it is a title. Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus THE Messiah. Messiah is a title, so if you must use Christ it should be THE Christ. But on another tack, even though I understand your audience is mainly gentile, I notice that nobody would never call Margot Fonteyn Margaret Fountain, or Leonardo da Vinci Lennard Vince, or Louis XV, Lewis!!! So why do we call Yeshua Jesus???

    1. Thanks again for your thoughtful response. I agree that it is very sad and wrong that so many people are contrary to Torah, especially within Messianic circles. I’m glad to get to know those who deeply value it and are encouraging others to do so.

      On the Yeshua/Christ thought, my understanding is that the New Testament (NT) is as much the inspired Word of God as Torah, and that much of the NT was originally written in Greek; books like John, Romans and Ephesians were evidently not written primarily to Jews, so it is inconceivable to me that they were originally written in Hebrew. If that is true, then we can easily see that God is pleased to refer to Yeshua as both “the Christ” and simply as “Christ,” (Greek “Christos”) since the word “the” (masculine “ho”) often appears in Greek as a distinct article along with Christos, and we can also find many instances without this article. We also find that YHWH prefers to use Greek form for Yeshua, “Iesous,” when revealing Himself to Greek speaking people, so I infer from this that the transliterated English “Jesus” is just as appropriate for English speaking people.

      Since YHWH is the designer of each and every language, I don’t think any one language is inherently better than any other; each one serves the purpose He intended and He can communicate perfectly in any of them. I think one of the issues with the Messianic movement, which I think makes it more of a Messy-anic movement at times, is that we tend to become enamored with the Hebrew-roots part of it, the Jewishness of it, and often don’t see the real value in it; which is really this One-Law position in my opinion. This then becomes a distraction for us, and also a way for Christians to dismiss this as just a “messianic phase” that many go through. Don’t misunderstand, I think the Jewish language and culture is beautiful and valuable in many ways, but holding it up as inherently superior to others is, I think, a dangerous mistake, and often leads down a slippery slope ending in actually rejecting Yeshua as Messiah.

      So, what about the above would you differ with and why? 🙂

  3. Well we will have to disagree on the original language of most of the NT. Written by Jews mainly for Jews. I am no scholar but my late husband was, and he felt quite strongly there was enough evidence for him to think that the original language would have been Hebrew. But of course, sadly we only have the Greek to go back to for translation.
    As far as the Tanach is concerned I have found time and time again that the English translations have just been “wrong” and have heard it said that EVERY translation of the Bible is a commentary as the translators have their own original starting point, and agendas even. I hold the English translation very lightly and am continually looking into the original Hebrew. I don’t esteem Hebrew above other languages, but when it comes to the Tenach, ie G-d speaking to us through Moshe and the Prophets, and the history of His people, I would esteem it greatly.
    As far as Hebrew/Jewish roots. I would NEVER use that term. I would say Biblical. G-d did not start a religion called Judaism, he revealed Himself to a certain people group (The Children of Israel) to show them who He was, and how they should live, often referred to in the Tenach as “and this is THE WAY.” This was for The Children of Israel and anyone who wanted to align themselves to them. Yeshuah did not come to start a new religion either, he came to get back to basics. To challenge the rabbis who had added to The Law, and to remind us that this WAY was for all men, that He came to fulfil The Law and The Prophets and not to add or take away from it…. but I am sure you would not have an issue on any of that!!!

    1. Thanks again for your comments. Yes, I think we agree on a whole lot, and I appreciate where we disagree. My latest blog, Thy Testimonies, extends my understanding of the One Law concept a little farther. If you have any comments on that one I am also interested.

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