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Music

How Holy do You Want to Be?

Music is very important to me. I know a lot of people will tell you that, and for me it is true. (Not to say that it is not true for others.) I’ve been playing piano since I could talk, so I jokingly consider it my second language. I have learned many instruments, and I love to sing. I sing almost all day long.

We need to be careful what we listen to.

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The Gospel and Holiness

Holiness is so so so important. Actually, it is going to be the topic of a bible study I’m leading in my dorm this semester. I will probably chronicle much of what happens in my study, as well as thoughts along the way as I research and plan what to share.

I thought I’d share something that just happened on Facebook. I shared an article from Relevant Magazine entitled, “Is the Sinner’s Prayer Biblical?” And basically, the point of the article is that the gospel is so much more than redemption and salvation. A friend commented:

I was reading the bible last Sunday, after the first passover in Canaan, when a man took the devoted things from the plunder. God was no longer with the tribes of Israel so they were losing horribly. The man confessed and gave the things back because it’s the right thing to do. So god had the man and his entire family, all of his possessions, and his animals, stoned horrible, then burnt alive, then stoned again for good measure. Supposedly that pile of stones which buried the family in this brutal murder remains to this day, as evidence to the crimes committed by the people of Israel. It was horrible, and goes to show what prayers for forgiveness are worth to a vengeful god.

I wasn’t sure how to respond at first, and I first commented something about a repentant heart. Which is true. But later, I rushed back, deleted the comment, and added this instead:

You cite an excellent example. Thinking that the story you cite is about forgiveness is the same error as thinking that the gospel is only about forgiveness and redemption. It is so much bigger than that. It’s about God making us holy, and living a life of holiness, and pursuing God. The story of the Israelites coming into Canaan is part of the story of God setting Israel apart as a holy nation, a people dedicated to serving Him, and living with Him. The story is an excellent example of how our individual behavior does not only affect ourselves, but the lives of the people around us. The man’s sin in taking plunder wasn’t just about him, but it affected the holiness of Israel. Israel must be completely holy in order to dwell with God, and that man put that holiness in jeopardy. That is why it was such horrible crime, and why he had to be punished the way he was.
God wants to set us apart, to make us holy, so that we can dwell with Him, and anything that gets in the way must be removed.

The gospel is not just about getting to Heaven at the end of it all. The gospel is about ultimate redemption so that we may be holy, so that we may dwell with Yahweh, and to pursue a relationship with Him. Now we can encounter an unclean world, and sin as we tend to do, and still have a relationship with Him. We can encounter a deeper level of holiness than ever before. The set-apart one of Israel, whose spirit was so holy that if you did not go through the proper ritual you would be died, can now reside within our flesh. And now we can live life with our Father, for our Father. Our lives can be so much more than just trying to survive, but worshipping God in everything we do and giving all the glory to Him. And of course, there’s still even more to it.

The gospel is way cool.

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Flesh

I had a thought. I could not remember the whole passage, but I remembered the quote from Romans, “I did not know sin except through the Law (Torah).” Well, then if we know what sin is by the Torah, should we not have a deep desire to study Torah to know what sin is so that we may no longer walk in sin?

Oh that my ways may be established to guard Your law. Ps. 119:5

But I get annoyed when people take verses out of context, so I decided to look deeper into that section in Romans. Of course I need to study all of Romans to get the best contextual image, but for starters I looked at Romans 7 and the beginning of chapter 8. There are classic verses here that are easy to misuse to mean that we no longer have to follow Torah.

For example:

But now we have been released from the Torah, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in newness of Spirit, and not in oldness of letter.

For apart from Torah sin is dead. And I was alive apart from the Torah once, but when the command came, the sin revived, and I died.

Okay, actually I tried to find more but those are the only two that could be reasonably perverted, provided you take them out of context. But when you read closer, Sha’ul is not criticizing Torah, but sin.

For when we were in the flesh, the passions of sins, through the Torah, were working to bear fruit to death. But now…

But sin, having taken the occasion through the command…

For sin, having taken the occasion through the command, deceived me, and through it killed me.

Sha’ul clearly has an issue with sin and the flesh, not Torah. So what does he have to say about Torah?

Is the Torah sin? Let it not be!

So that the Torah truly is set-apart, and the command set-apart, and righteous, and good. Therefore, has that which is good become death to me? Let it not be!

For we know that the Torah is Spiritual…

For I delight in the Torah of Elohim according to the inward man.

Clearly, Sha’ul loves Torah. What does it do in our lives? As he said, it instructs us as to what sin is. He tells us that sin uses Torah to lead us to sin. Even though we pursue Torah, our flesh will not do Torah but evil. So…

Thanks be to Elohim, through Yeshua Messiah our Master! So then, with the mind I myself truly serve the Torah of Elohim, but with the flesh the torah (teaching) of sin. There is, then, now no condemnation to those who are in Messiah Yeshua, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the torah (teaching) of the Spirit of the life in Messiah Yeshua has set me free from the torah of sin and death. For the Torah being powerless, in that it was weak through the flesh, Elohim, having sent His own Son in the likeness of flesh of sin, and concerning sin, condemned sin in the flesh, so that the righteousness of the Torah should be completed in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

The Torah is of Elohim and of the Spirit, or Spiritual. It is set-apart, righteous, and good. We are set free from the teachings of sin. Free from the law of sin, we are now free to follow Spiritual Torah!

I cringe as I keep only quoting snippets of the scripture, but I encourage you to look deeper at the entire passage, and council with YHWH about it. There is so much more in this passage, and to stop here is not deep enough for me, but you get the idea. Please please please read Romans 7-8 for yourself.

Back to where I started this entry: Well, then if we know what sin is by the Torah, should we not have a deep desire to study Torah to know what sin is so that we may no longer walk in sin?

You could say that the Jews of Yeshua’s time were living the Torah in the flesh, but now they have the opportunity to live Torah in the Spirit, through the work of Yeshua. Gentiles, such as myself, do not know Torah or live by Torah, and have lived our lives according to the flesh. “Because the mind of the flesh is enmity towards Elohim, for it does not subject itself to the Torah of Elohim, neither indeed is it able.” But now, in Yeshua, we have the ability to follow the Torah in Spirit! Isn’t that awesome? We get to skip the torah of flesh in favor of the Torah of Spirit. HalleluYah!

Oh that my ways may be established to guard your law. Ps. 119:5

PS: Check out Tom Bradford’s lesson on the intro to Leviticus at Torahclass.com, he covers a bit more on Romans and the Semitic expression “Law of Sin.”

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Intention

No one saw my last post because I didn’t tag it…oh well.

Yesterday a friend came over for lunch. Before she came, I bathed the meeting in prayer and asked Yahweh to bless it and that His Spirit would move. Well, without even planning it, the conversation started with talking about Hebrew roots and Torah. Cool, huh? Praise Yahweh for moving in such a way that I did not even expect.

Moreover, she was receptive to every thing I had to say. I told her about some of the Pagan aspects of modern Christian worship and practice, and she was appalled. She couldn’t understand why those changes had been made in the first place, and her heart to love and worship Yahweh in a pure way was just a joy to me.

And she was even excited to borrow and watch Finger of God, by Darren Wilson. So many people are skeptical of the material. “Why would God give someone gold teeth? Why gem stones?” As if the silliness of it would detract from the reality. Yahweh moves in the way He moves because He loves us. Period. Anyway, it was refreshing that she was eager to watch. Unfortunately, she didn’t have time to watch it with me, but we will discuss it at a later date. Yay!

The one part of the conversation that was not smooth, was when she was talking about how the Israelites abused the ritual offering system, simply offering an animal every time they sinned. That didn’t sound right to me, but I didn’t know why. All I could say was that it would be a waste of their income to kill an animal every time they sinned. But praise Yahweh, He gave me the answer later last night.

I was watching the Torahclass.com lesson of the introduction to Leviticus, part two. I learned an important lesson about sin, that Yahweh categorizes sin as unintentional and intentional. Only unintentional sins were covered by the ritual offerings. There was no atonement for intentional sins. If you sinned intentionally you were executed or outcast, forced to live out the rest of your days under the “curse of the Law.”

So in answer to my friend, the Hebrews could not have abused the offering system. If they sinned intentionally they were doomed. The Hebrews must have been exhausted, trying to keep themselves from intentional sin. But that’s the beauty of what Yeshua did.

Of course Yeshua fulfilled the Levitical offering system, that much was obvious to Paul. But more than that, He “redeemed us from the curse of the law.” (Galatians 3) Indeed, they were no longer a slave to sin. Although that phrase is usually interpreted to mean a slave to sinning, it actually refers to the punishment of intentional sin. We are free from being enslaved to the punishment of our sins. Furthermore, Yeshua is also the Passover lamb, which means that we are saved from eternal death. (Tom Bradford, Torah Class teacher, talks about that more in the lesson, linked above.)

The sad thing is, as Tom points out, modern believers generally commit intentional sins. We know that what we do is wrong when we do it. Does having freedom from punishment also give us the right to break the Law? If not, then why do we have a body dedicated to doing what they want and justifying it with the Word, rather than a body dedicated to following the Word?

Pray that Yahweh would restore pure worship.