Contending For The Faith

Contending For The Faith

by Christine Egbert

Have you ever fumbled a golden opportunity to explain why you’ve returned to the old paths and are contending for the faith that was once delivered to the saints? Do you ever wish you’d expressed yourself better? I have! And that’s why I love writing. It can be edited. With the spoken word, however, there is no delete button. One can’t pause mid-sentence and go look up a verse. Propelled by a flood of emotion, our words enter the atmosphere, and hang there. And all too often, we’re left wishing we’d expressed ourselves more articulately. If, however, we study to show ourselves approved at rightly dividing God’s word, our conversation might go something like this:

Why would you want to keep those Jewish Feasts?”

Jewish Feasts? God calls them His feasts in Leviticus 23:2. He says we’re to proclaim them, to call them Holy Convocations.”

But that’s Old Testament…”

2nd Timothy 3:16 says that all scripture is given by inspiration of God. It’s profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. And at the time Paul wrote that to Timothy there was no New Testament.”

But the Law’s been done away with.”

Says you!”

Says the Bible.”

You better read Matthew 5: 17-20. Until heaven and earth pass away, Jesus said, not one jot would pass from the Law. Not until everything has been fulfilled, both in the law and in the Prophets.”

That’s just it. It has been fulfilled . . . ask my pastor.”

Oh, really? What about all that end-time prophesy he loves to preach about? Has that been fulfilled? No, it hasn’t! Not to mention heaven and earth.”

Heaven and earth?”

They’re still here! And so is God’s law. Jesus said whoever breaks one of the least of the commandments and teaches others to break them–the way you’re suggesting now–will be least in the kingdom.”

Ah, you’re making it all up!”

It’s right there in Matthew 5:19. Read it for yourself. And verse 20 says whoever keeps and teaches others to keep the commandments will be great in the Kingdom, and that’s what I want to be.”

Well, that’s not what the apostle Paul teaches!”

Says you, but remember what Peter warned. He warned that Paul’s writings are sometimes hard to understand, and the untaught and unstable twist Paul’s writings to their own destruction. So I’d be careful, if I were you. According to Peter, you’re being led astray by the error of the lawless.”

Now I know you’re making this stuff up.

Yeah? Read 2nd Timothy 3:16 & 17, then tell me that.”

You need to talk to my pastor.”

That’s a great idea. I should. I really should. Somebody needs to talk to him.”

My pastor loves Jesus! And so do I.”

Great! Then both of you should be keeping the commandments, including His Feast Days, His Appointed Times.”

They’re for Israel. We’re Christians…we’re in the New Covenant!”

And just who do you think the New Covenant was made with?”

Christians, of course!”

It was made with the House of Israel and the House of Judah.”

It was not!”

Read Jeremiah 31:31 and Hebrews 8:8!”

Then just where do we Gentiles come in? And that includes you! I’ve known you since the third grade. You’re not Jewish!”

Well, finally you got something right—partially right anyway. I’m not Jewish. But I am a part of Israel, part of the commonwealth, which means I am no longer a Gentile. If I were, I couldn’t be in a covenant that was made only with the House of Israel and the House of Judah, could I? You need to read Ephesians 2:11-13.”

What? You’re not going to quote it for me?”

It says before I accepted Yeshua I was an alien from the Commonwealth of Israel, a stranger to Israel’s covenants. Now I’m part of the Commonwealth and a partaker of the covenants. And it does say covenants. Plural! One builds on the other; it doesn’t replace it. The only difference between the two is this the renewed one comes with better promises, and now the laws are etched on our hearts and minds.”

Yeah, well, my Bible says that Christ is the end to the Law.”

That’s a bad translation. The word they translated as “end” is the Greek word “telos.” It means the point aimed at: the goal. The Messiah is the goal of the law. He’s not the end of it. That would contradict what Yeshua said about not coming to destroy the law. Why would He tell us to keep his commandments if he planned on nailing them to the cross?”

But my pastor–”

If fulfill meant what your pastor teaches it does, Yeshua would have been saying, ‘Don’t think I came to abolish the law, I came to do away with it.’ Now how stupid would that be?”

Are you claiming salvation comes through keeping the law?”

Absolutely not! Salvation is by grace through faith, always has been, and always will be. But faith without works is dead.”

Yeah, I’ve read that scripture too, and it’s kind of confusing.”

It wouldn’t be if you’d stop making faith the enemy of obedience. Remember James also said that even demons believe and tremble, only demons don’t obey. Yeshua said, ‘If you love me keep my commandments.’”

“Yes, but–”

Many will come to the Lord one day, reminding Him of all they did in His name, and Jesus is going to tell them to depart, that He never knew them. Why? Because they were lawless! And if your translation says because of “iniquity” rather than lawlessness, you need to look up the Greek. The word is “anomia.” It means violation of the TORAH. 1st John 3:4 says everyone who practices sin practices lawlessness, for sin is lawlessness.”

I hear what you’re saying, only–”

Only what? Whose law do you suppose John was referring to?”

God’s law, I guess.”

Bingo! Yahweh’s TORAH, the law God gave Moses. Only it’s written on our hearts now, not stone. And Yeshua said it would not pass away until heaven and earth passed away. It’s the same law that Psalms 19:7 calls perfect. And don’t forget Revelation 22:14! ‘Blessed are those who keep his commandments for they will have a right to the tree of life.’”

Okay! Okay! I get what you’re saying, it’s just that Paul–”

Paul is hard to understand, I know. And he’s frequently taken out of context by those who don’t read the front of the book. But if Paul actually taught all the false doctrines he’s been accused of teaching he’d be one big contradiction.”

Contradiction? What do you mean?”

Paul also said he believed everything written in the Law and Prophets—Acts 24:14, and that we don’t make the law void through faith. On the contrary, Paul said, we establish it. And in Romans 8:4, he said when we walk in the Spirit we will fulfill the righteous requirements of the law.”

He did say that, didn’t he?”

Yes, And in Romans 7:12, Paul called the law holy. He called it just, and he called it true. So when Paul wrote that he believed all things written in the law, I have to take Paul at his word. And when Jeremiah wrote that in the day of affliction Gentiles will come from the ends of the earth crying, ‘Surely our fathers have inherited lies,’ I believe that, too! Look, my friend, it all boils down to this: Either Paul was a very confused man, or he is the most maligned of all the apostles.”

Humm . . . I’m beginning to see what you mean.”

And that, my dear readers, is how such conversations might go, but only if you’re talking to someone who is open to hearing TRUTH, open to the Holy Scriptures. Unfortunately, since Scripture says “narrow is the way to life and few are they who find it”, no matter how much you’ve studied God’s WORD and are ready to give an answer for what you believe, the majority will reject what the Bible teaches, preferring instead the comfort of their church doctrine. With them, a conversation will likely go like this:

Pastor, if the law was nailed to the cross, why did Jesus say nothing would pass from the law until heaven and earth passed away?”

Have you been to seminary?”

No…”

Well, I have. I have a doctorate in theology!”

I respect that, Pastor. Only I keep reading things in the Bible that don’t add up with what you’ve been teaching, Like Roman’s 8:4. It says we’re given the Holy Spirit so we can fulfill the righteous requirements of the law. And Revelations says those who keep His commandments will have a right to the tree of life.

It’s talking about keeping Jesus’ commandments, not the Jewish Law!”

You mean Jehovah’s Law, don’t you? God calls them His Law. And Jesus said His doctrines weren’t His, but His Father’s, that He came to do only His Father’s will and to speak only His Father’s words. So how can Jesus have commandments that differ from His Father’s?”

“And Paul said we are no longer under the law but under grace!”

Isn’t that because we’re not to walk in the flesh, but in the Spirit, so that we can fulfill the righteous requirements of the law? If we’re fulfilling the law then we aren’t under it.”

Just why do you want to be under the curse of the law?”

I don’t! I want to keep the law and be blessed. A curse is on all those who break God’s law, according to Deuteronomy.”

Well, we are no longer under the law!”

Then what about sin?”

What about it?”

If there’s no more law, then why do you still preach against sin? The Bible says sin is a violation of the law.”

Look, I don’t have time for this. I have a meeting to go to. But I have a book on systematic theology that I’ll give you. It’ll straighten you out.”

Thanks, Pastor, but I think I’d better just stick with God’s word.”

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