What Does “Under the Law” Really Mean?

ORIGINALLY POSTED 01 AUGUST, 2003

Those of you who have been in the Messianic community for any elongated period of time know that we can be a controversial group of people. Those of us who were raised in mainstream Christianity and have now joined Messianic congregations have questioned much of what we were taught in the past, testing it against Scripture. While today’s Christianity did indeed give us a foundational grounding in the Word of God, and thankfully and gratefully presented us the gospel of salvation available in Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), it is nevertheless a human religious system, and as such did present us with some non-Biblical teachings.

One of the errant teachings of much of contemporary Christianity, which has re-arisen in the past few years as the Messianic movement has gotten larger, is the belief that Yeshua the Messiah came to abolish the Torah or the Law of Moses. Those of us who have entered into the Messianic community of faith do not believe this to be true. We evidence this in our lives by now practicing many of the things that Christianity has deemed unimportant for the Body of Messiah, but were adhered to and kept by Yeshua’s early followers. We keep the seventh-day Sabbath or Shabbat, we celebrate the appointed times of Leviticus 23, and we follow the kosher dietary laws. These are just a few Torah practices that most Christians believe are unimportant.[1]

Now this I do not choose, as some in the Messianic community do: to vehemently criticize, berate, and harass Christians who do not feel the same way as I do about these issues. I have taken my fair share of negative comments and realize that some are not ready to hear or receive the message. All things happen in the Lord’s timing, and much more unites Christians and Messianics than divides them (Ephesians 4:1-6). Yet one of the reasons why there can be problems between Christians and Messianics is because many Messianics do not know how to properly defend their faith and practice. Rather than examining Scripture, insulting terms are usually thrown around and fights ensue. This is most evident when Christians who oppose Torah obedience claim that we are “under the Law”—and that this is not a position in which born again Believers should want to find themselves. Sadly, in my opinion, much of the Messianic handling of this one phrase has been anything but proper. We must be able to properly respond to this and see how it is used in the New Testament.

This article addresses the clause “under the Law” (Grk. hupo nomon), how it is used, and what it means in its appropriate context in view of what both the Tanach and Apostolic Scriptures tell us about the significance of God’s Torah. We will examine Yeshua’s words on the matter of the Law of Moses. We will examine how a variety of Christians and Messianic teachers have handled this term. We will then test these claims against what the Apostle Paul says in his letters. When you finish reading, the next time a Christian says that you as a Messianic are errantly “under the Law,” you should be able to properly respond to his claim.

Click here for the complete version of “What Does ‘Under the Law’ Really Mean?”

What_Does_Under_the_Law_Really_Mean_INTRODUCTION_TO_THINGS_MESSIANIC

reproduced from Introduction to Things Messianic

Are you new to the Messianic movement? Do you have questions about what the Messianic movement, lifestyle, and theologies are all about? Do you need answers on a wide variety of issues with some detailed information? If these are the questions you have been asking, then Introduction to Things Messianic is a book that will definitely benefit you.

Written to the new person investigating Messianic things, Introduction to Things Messianic is a compilation of articles that will inform the inquirer on a wide array of Messianic topics relevant to the current state and growth of our movement, including:

  • Is “the Church” truly a new group of elect?
  • Is the Torah or Law of Moses really relevant for Believers today?
  • Who were the ancient Pharisees and what did they believe?
  • What are the ancient civilizations relevant to the Bible?
  • Am I required to keep the Sabbath?
  • What are the Biblical festivals?
  • Am I required to eat kosher?
  • Why do many Messianics use the proper name of God?
  • What do Messianics think about the end-times?
  • How do I properly grow in this new walk of faith?

These questions, and many more, are discussed and detailed in Introduction to Things Messianic. This book builds on the foundational material in Hebraic Roots: An Introductory Study in a much more thorough way for those wanting an in-depth view of these basic issues. Introduction to Things Messianic can be used for a single person or a group Bible study, as study questions follow each chapter. This publication can also be used as an excellent primer to other publications available from Messianic Apologetics.

250 pages