OYB February 18
Julie FerwerdaAre you ready for change in 2009? Grab a One Year Bible (NLT), commit to reading it daily, and join Julie Ferwerda on an extraordinary adventure that will transform your life as you experience its relevance in a fresh, understandable way. In addition to 20+ years in Bible teaching ministry, Julie is a professional speaker and writer. Her works have appeared in publications such as Focus on the Family, Discipleship Journal, Christianity Today, Marriage Partnership, Brio, and Revolve Biblezines & Devotional Bible (for teens). She's also the author of "The Perfect Fit: Piecing Together True Love," and also the upcoming book, "One Million Arrows for God: Raising Your Children to Change the World." Learn more at www.JulieFerwerda.com.
- 2009 Feb 18
6:24-30 In recent discussion I was asked a great question about the place of the Torah in our lives today. The person wondered if we are under grace that frees us from the Torah and I explained to her that the problem is not the Torah that keeps us from freedom, it's our understanding and application of it. We often don't understand how the New Covenant has taken the Old Covenant of the Written Torah in stone, and made the Living Torah (Jesus) a very part of our hearts. Jeremiah 31:33 says, "But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day," says the LORD. "I will put my [Torah] in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people." So if we can try to understand the symbolism, we will see that the application of it is always about freedom in Jesus, as I will try to explain.
Now please understand, I don't have it all figured out yet, and everything I'm stating here is my opinion based on my recent studies, but I believe what I am saying to be true in principle. This passage (Lev. 6:24-30) is an excellent example. If you were living in as an Israelite in those days, or even if you are reading this passage today and you do not have understanding, you have no idea what this particular passage has to do with freedom in Jesus. But notice through our "new glasses" based on the "New Covenant" that this passage is completely dealing with the crucifixion, forgiveness of sins, and also foretelling of Communion when we partake of the body of Jesus as His priests, which makes us holy. The Torah written in stone as we see it in Leviticus, becomes the Living Word of Jesus (Yeshua), written in our hearts through His Spirit in the Gospels. I believe learning to make this transition in our minds is somehow a principle of understanding the place of the Torah in our lives today, and it is up to us to discover the symbolic, spiritual meaning (much like the sacrifice represents Jesus and the yeast represents sin, etc., and don't forget about all our other "actors" that are a part of this play in Genesis-Deuteronomy). The Old Covenant was written in stone and was all about DOING. But the New Covenant is written in our hearts and it is all about BEING THROUGH FAITH AND BELIEF in the Living Word, the redemption and freedom of Christ.
My friend cited Galatians 2:11-21 as her case for our having "freedom from the Law," but I have a different take on it by applying my understanding above, keeping in mind that Jesus said, "I did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill the Law." So applying our newfound understanding to what Paul is saying, let's substitute some equivalent words in Galatians 2:15-21 for better understanding. This is taken from the NASB and I have substituted only 3 words (works=doing, Law=written Torah, Jesus (any form)=The Living Torah (John 1):
We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles; 16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the [DOING] of the [WRITTEN TORAH] but through faith in [THE LIVING TORAH], even we have believed in [THE LIVING TORAH], so that we may be justified by faith in [THE LIVING TORAH] and not by the [DOING] of the [WRITTEN TORAH]; since by the [DOING] of the [WRITTEN TORAH] no flesh will be justified. 17 "But if, while seeking to be justified in [THE LIVING TORAH], we ourselves have also been found sinners, is [THE LIVING TORAH] then a minister of sin? May it never be! 18 "For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 "For through the [WRITTEN TORAH] I died to the [WRITTEN TORAH], so that I might live to God. 20 "I have been crucified with [THE LIVING TORAH]; and it is no longer I who live, but [THE LIVING TORAH] lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in [THE LIVING TORAH], who loved me and gave Himself up for me. 21 "I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the [WRITTEN TORAH], then [THE LIVING TORAH] died needlessly."
3:13 Afterward Jesus went up on a mountain and called out the ones he wanted to go with him. And they came to him. Jesus wants you, and He is calling you up to His Mountain. Will you go with Him, too?
Questions for reflection:
What did you personally get out of today's lesson about the Living Torah?
Are you gaining a better understanding of the Torah and how, through it's fulfillment in bodily form, it looks quite different than it did in ages past cut in stone? How does this change your thinking?