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Commonsense Christianity

Commonsense Christianity

If You’re Not Jewish, Why Do You Act as if You Are?

The narrow path we walk as Christians is challenging enough without throwing stones and rocks and logs and pitfalls in the way. Blue Ribbon, original watercolor painting by Steve Henderson Fine Art.

Because someone, somewhere will be quick to take offense, let’s waste the first paragraph of this article by stating that I have nothing against Jewish people, and if you are Jewish, I’m glad for you. I’m not out to convert you, change you, admonish you, or put you down.

However, this is a Christian blog. It’s not unreasonable for me to assume that people reading it are Christians, many of whom are Gentiles, like me. And what we’re talking about today is an increasing number of Christian Gentiles who adopt Jewish customs: the women cover their hair and the men grow beards; pork’s out of the house year round, as is yeast, during Passover, which is celebrated in conjunction with, or instead of, Easter; Jesus is Yeshua, God is Yahweh; Sunday is Saturday.

Many, Many Rules

The list can go on for the 1400 or so pages of my Old Testament, because the Gentile Christian who embraces an adopted Jewish heritage picks and chooses from all sorts of laws, customs, traditions, and obligations in an effort to express . . . what? about his Christianity.

One man told me, “The New Testament isn’t enough. To be a complete Christian, you have to follow the Old Testament.”

To which I replied, mentally because saying it aloud would have provoked an unnecessary argument: “If you’re going to play Jesus-Plus and follow the law, then you need to follow it all,” or as James, strongly purported to be the Lord’s brother and a Christian convert from Judaism, put it:

“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (James 2: 10)

This means, fellow women still of childbearing age, that you need to remove yourself from society, and do a whole lot of laundry, for seven days out of the month (Leviticus 15: 19 -23).

The Gospel Means “Good News”

The good news is, “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise,” (Galatians 3: 29). So the Old Testament, my friend, is as much a part of our spiritual heritage as the New Testament, and we can read it, meditate upon it, and learn from its wisdom and teaching. There’s a lot of great stuff in there.

We are His precious, precious children, guided by love, grace, mercy, compassion, and righteousness. Reflection, original oil painting by Steve Henderson; licensed open edition print at Great Big Canvas and iCanvasART.

The better news is, the promised Messiah that Abraham’s children searched for in that Old Testament, and eagerly awaited to come, has already arrived, and because Jesus was the perfect Jew, fulfilling ever jot and tittle of the Law and the Prophets, you and I don’t have to (Luke 24: 44). If the Old Testament shows us anything, it predicates that we can’t fulfill the law, ever.

For Gentiles who are Christians, it’s not the Law and the Prophets we need to follow, it is Christ, and following Christ looks like this:

“The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6: 29) It’s harder than it sounds, but “Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.” (John 6: 45)

So, how do we listen to the Father?

“This is love for God: to obey his commands.” (1 John 5: 3)

And what are those commands? Jesus tells us in Matthew 22: 37-39 that all of the Law and Prophets hang on these two:

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ “

The Things You Don’t Need to Do

You don’t need to sacrifice a ram on the alter, assuming you could find either (“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1: 29). There is no need to distinguish clean from unclean food (“What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean,'” Matthew 15: 11). If you have to work on Sunday, or Saturday, you don’t stand condemned (“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath,” Mark 2: 27).

It’s not what you do that saves you — it’s Who saves you:

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2: 8)

Grace. Grace. Grace. It’s so big that it covers us even when we heap on the rules.

Thank You

Thank you for joining me at Commonsense Christianity, where I encourage people to think seriously about what “freedom in Christ” means. No, it’s not the freedom to do anything we want or desire, because although “everything is permissible for me,” not everything is beneficial (1 Corinthians 6: 12).

It does mean, however, that we do not allow others — including ourselves — to place burdens upon us that Christ did not put there.

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  • rhemasman

    Paul Confronts Peter
    Galatians 2:11-21
    Pay attention to verse 14
    Paul Confronts Peter

    11.) But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.

    12.) For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but
    when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.

    13.) And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.

    14.)
    But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of
    the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew,
    livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why
    compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

    15.) We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,

    16.) Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith
    of
    Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be
    justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for
    by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

    17.)
    But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are
    found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.

    18.) For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.

    19.) For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.

    20.)
    I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ
    liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the
    faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

    21.) I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

    Had an early dinner so now it’s chill time in the word..

    Revelation 3:7-22 N.I.V
    .Payi close attention to verse 9
    To the Church in Philadelphia

    7.) “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:

    These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of
    David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.

    8.) I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open
    door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you
    have kept my word and have not denied my name.

    9.) I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to
    be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and
    fall down at your
    feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.

    10.) Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also
    keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world
    to test the inhabitants of the earth.

    11.) I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.

    12.) The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my
    God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of
    my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is
    coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my
    new name.

    13.) Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

    To the Church in Laodicea

    14.) “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
    These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.

    15.) I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!

    16.) So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

    17.) You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a
    thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor,
    blind and naked.

    18.) I counsel you to buy from me gold refined
    in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you
    can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you
    can see.

    19.) Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.

    20.) Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice
    and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they
    with me.

    21.)To the one who is victorious, I will give the right
    to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with
    my Father on his throne.

    22.) Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

  • Jessie Masih

    Mmmhmmm, preach it sister, I hear you. You’re not ranting but explaining the fundamentals of our faith. We are not under grace and the first covenant. Just grace. Sometimes, people forget.

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