Why All Believers in Messiah Should Observe the Law

Why All Believers Should Observe the Law

This page contains a list of studies showing the New Testament teaches Torah/Law observance.

I realize that this claim might seem ridiculous and/or impossible to some. But take a look at what these the apostle Paul and John are saying:

Romans 8:6- For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 – Because the carnal mind is enmity against Elohim: for it is not subject to the law of Elohim, neither indeed can be.

Romans 3:31- Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.

1 John 3:4- Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

The above scriptures appear to be telling us that we should be observing the law, and that the very definition of sin is transgressing (breaking/violating) the law. 

But then we have other scriptures like these:

Colossians 2:16- Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 – Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Messiah.

Galatians 2:16  Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Yahushua Messiah, even we have believed in Yahushua Messiah, that we might be justified by the faith of Messiah, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

These scriptures may appear to be saying that we need not keep Yahweh’s law.

So what is the answer here? Years ago, I laid out all the scriptures I could find which appeared to be either for or against observing the law. I did a detailed study on each of them and came to the clear conclusion that the New Testament actually teaches law observance. 

While it teaches us that the law cannot save us or justify us, there are also clear directives to walk in its precepts. This page contains a list of studies on this topic.

First, let’s examine some common misconceptions I discovered regarding law observance:

Misconception #1: If I want to observe the law, I’ll need to stone people who break the Sabbath!

This is very common notion, but we need to understand that in Exodus-Deuteronomy there were different laws given to different people. The laws concerning the death penalty were sentencing guidelines for judges of the land.

For instance, we can be a law-abiding citizen in our own country without personally arresting people and putting them in jail. It is not our job to punish those who break the law. It is the position of judges to decide whether or not a person should be punished and/or sentenced for certain crimes committed. 

The same is true with Yahweh’s law. It was never condoned that people caught in adultery should immediately be grabbed by the neck and stoned to death. There was due process with judges, court proceedings and witnesses that would come forward. Vigilante justice was never commanded or expected. Vigilante justice was attempted on the Messiah and on the woman caught in adultery (John 8), but this was not biblical.

Misconception #2: The law was concerned about the outward actions, but the Messiah came and taught a better way that included the motivations of the heart.

The law was always about the heart. Deuteronomy 10:16 says to “circumcise the foreskin of your heart.” The Messiah taught us that we should not commit adultery even in our heart, but this was not new at all! Even the 10th commandment teaches us that we should not covet our neighbor’s wife. 

The law also teaches that we should love Yahweh with all our heart/soul/might (Deuteronomy 6:5) and love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18). The principle of loving your enemies is also found in the law (Exodus 23:4), and other places in the Old Testament (Proverbs 25:21-22). 

Misconception #3: The scribes and Pharisees were examples of law-keeping men.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Many of them were wicked and bloodthirsty men. The Messiah said, “Did not Moses give you the law, yet none of you keeps the law?” in John 7:19. And He told them:

Matthew 23:23- “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.

The Scribes and Pharisees were neglecting the weightier matters of the law which were justice, mercy and faith. So justicemercy and faith were all parts of Yahweh’s law. In fact, they are the weightier matters of the law!

But notice that He did not criticize them for attending to the finer points. He said, “these (the finer points like tithing of herbs) you ought to have done, without leaving the others (weightier matters like justice/mercy/faith) undone.”

Interesting, yes?