Jesus Creed

Psalm 119:3 says “They have done no wrong, but have followed God’s ways.” The one whose identity is shaped by Torah, by the revealing words from God, are characterized by (at least) two attributes:
They don’t do some things and they do do some things. They don’t do what is wrong; they do do what is right. They avoid sin; they do what is good.
We can react against negative piety at times — wrankling under the prohibitions: “don’t do this, don’t do that, don’t say this, etc etc.” Our reaction is at times justifiable; loving God is more than “not doing specific things.”
But, we are foolish to think that there aren’t some things that are bad and contrary to God’s plan — and we are wise not to do those things.
In fact — though we have to be very careful here — there is a sense in which not doing sin is a way of doing what is right. (Again, not doing something is not the same as doing what is good.) If the “not doing” is shaped by this thought — I shouldn’t do this because it is not of God — then the heart is in the right place. If the “not doing” is shaped by this thought — others will hear about me — then our heart is misplaced.
R. Akiva said Israel responded to the prohibitions with “Yes” while others said Israel said “No.” Saying “Yes” to God’s “No”s is a good thing.
Still, I maintain that the one whose identity is shaped by God’s revealing words will be characterized (at least) by both what they don’t do and by what they do do.
It is good to be free. It is unwise to use our freedom to do what we shouldn’t do.

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