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? When challenged, have you ever wish you’d expressed yourself better? I have! Lots of times. That’s why I love writing. Written words can be edited. With our spoken words, however, there is no delete button. One can’t just pause in mid-sentence to go look up a Scripture verse. Instead, we are propelled by a flood of emotion to defend our beliefs. Then our words enter the atmosphere (and right or wrong) they hang there. And all too often, they are not exactly what we meant to say, and we are left wishing we’d expressed ourselves more articulately. If, however, we study to show ourselves approved, rightly dividing the WORD of God, those conversation might go something like this when we are challenged:

Why would you want to keep all those Jewish Feast Days?”

Jewish Feast Days? God calls them His Feasts in Leviticus 23:2. We’re to proclaim them, He says, to call them Holy Convocations. The word translated as feasts is mo’ed. It’s a God-appointed time.

“Whatever . . . it’s still Old Testament.”

“I though you believed the Bible!”

“I do!”

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

“I know, but the Law has been done away with.”

Says you!”

“My Pastor said so . . . lots of times.”

“Then he 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 . . . ask my pastor.”

Oh, really? Then 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.”

“What about heaven and earth?”

They’re still here, aren’t they? And so is God’s LAW. Jesus said whoever breaks one of the least of the commandments and teaches others to break them will be least in the kingdom.”

Ah, you’re making that up!”

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

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

Says you! But remember what the Apostle Peter warned: Sometimes Paul’s writings are hard to understand, and the untaught and unstable twist them to their own destruction. So I’d be careful, if I were you. Don’t be led astray by the error of the lawless!”

Now I know you’re making this stuff up.

You think so? Go read 2nd Peter 3:16 & 17, then tell me that.”

You need to talk to my pastor.”

“Hey, that’s a great idea. I should! I really should. Somebody needs to talk to him.”

“I don’t like your tone. My pastor loves Jesus! And so do I.”

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

They’re for Israel.”

“You’ve got that right.”

“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!”

“You better read Jeremiah 31:31 and Hebrews 8:8!”

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

“You’re partially right there 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, now could I? You really need to read Ephesians 2:11-13.”

You mean you’re not going to quote it for me?” he asked, rolling his eyes. 

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. The only difference between the two is that the renewed one comes with better promises, and now God’s laws are etched on our hearts and in our minds.”

“My Bible says Christ is the end to the Law.”

“Then you have a bad translation. The word in Greek is “telos.” It means the point aimed at, the goal. Messiah is the goal of the law. He’s not the end of the law. Why would Yeshua tell us He did not come to destroy the law if He planned on nailing it to the cross?”

But my pastor–”

If fulfill meant what your pastor teaches it means, 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?”

“So you’re saying salvation comes through our keeping the law?”

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

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

“Well, it wouldn’t be if you’d stop making faith the enemy of obedience. Remember James said that even demons believe and tremble, only demons don’t obey. And Yeshua said, ‘If you love me, keep my commandments.’ 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 from Him, 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 without law, lawless, a 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–”

Whose law do you suppose John was referring to?”

God’s, 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 often 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 by pastors like yours, Paul would be one big contradiction. Remember, Paul also wrote that 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 the law. Romans 8:4 says, ‘… when we walk in the Spirit we will fulfill the righteous requirements of the law.’”

“Paul did say that, didn’t he?”

Yes, he did. And in Romans 7:12, Paul called the LAW holy, just, and true. So when he wrote that he believed all things written in the law, I 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 have to believe that, too! Look, 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 see what you mean.”

Well that, my dear readers, is how our conversations might go, but only if you’re talking to someone who is open to hearing the TRUTH as written in the Holy Scriptures. Unfortunately, since Scripture tells us “narrow is the way to life and few are they who find it”, no matter how much we have studied God’s WORD and are ready to give an answer for what we believe, the majority will likely reject what the Bible actually teaches, preferring instead the comfort of their local church’s doctrine. With them, the conversation will more likely go something 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 ever been to seminary?”

No, Pastor.”

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

I respect that. 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.

“Revelations is talking about keeping Jesus’ commandments, not the Jewish Law!”

You mean YHVH’s Law, don’t you, Pastor? Jesus said His doctrines weren’t His, but His Father’s, and 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 referring to our no longer walking in the flesh, but in the Spirit? When we walk in the Spirit we can then fulfill the righteous requirements of the law. That’s what Paul wrote.”

Then, turning red in the face, he will probably demand: “Why do you want to be under the curse of the law?”

I don’t! I want to keep the law so that I can be blessed. The curse is on those who break God’s law, according to Deuteronomy.”

“I know what Deuteronomy says! But we are no longer under the law!”

“What about sin?”

What about it?”

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

Throwing his hands in the air, he will then likely say, “I’m sorry. I don’t have time for this. I have a meeting to go to, but I’ll have my secretary give you an excellent book on systematic theology,” as he ushers you out of his office. 

And that’s when you will say, “Thanks, Pastor, but I better just stick with God’s word.”