The Graciousness of the Torah

“When Israel was a child, I loved him,
    and out of Egypt I called my son.
The more they were called,
    the more they went away;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals
    and burning offerings to idols.”
Hosea 11:1 ESV
In the New Testament and under the New Covenant, “Israel” has become the church.  The Israelites that were saved by God’s grace in the Old Testament had faith in Christ. ” And the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.”  (Numbers 21:8, John 3:14)
  The whole Bible is one story about God’s mercy and grace to His chosen people from Genesis (when the Lord was merciful to Adam and Eve in the garden) to Revelation (which means to “reveal”).  It is a story that “reveals” more of His plan for salvation throughput history ending in 70 A.D., when Jerusalem fell, the temple sacrifices ceased and the “fullness of the age” arrived for the church.  We are living in the church age now as we have the full revelation of Scripture and waiting for the consummation of history when Jesus Christ returns.
31 “He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”  (Matt. 13:31-32)
God’s kingdom continues to grow in all the nations.  Jesus is ruling and has been victorious.  He is the already victorious King of Kings.  There have never been more Christians on earth as today.  He will come again at the end of the church age in victory when most of the world is Christian.  “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”  (Matthew 6:10)
 “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,”  (Deuteronomy 10:12)
All of the Scriptures apply to the church today.  Grace applies to us in the sense that God saves his people through faith in His son Jesus Christ.  This was true of the Old Testament believers as well as the New.  We have the fullness of the times, however.  The believers in the Old Testament, were waiting for Christ.  We have seen the glory of His salvation.  Christ did not come to abolish the law.
 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”  (Matthew 5:17-20)  The Scribes and Pharisees lacked “faith” in Christ and did not worship Jesus, the Messiah, in Spirit and truth.  They had the law, but it was their own autonomous law.  They made things up and did not obey God’s law of loving him and their neighbor.  They were tyrants!  
The modern church has turned God’s grace into disgrace.  “God’s grace doesn’t mean that we should have injustice rampant because we have the gospel.” (Apologia Radio)  “How many times does a man turn his head and pretend he doesn’t see.”  (Bob Dylan, Dust in the Wind)
God’s law needs to be taken in context and pay attention to the details.  His law is not burdensome or unjust, but promises safety and protection if obeyed through faith in Christ.  We walk down the path of righteousness by the power of the Spirit.  When we stumble….we repent….ask for forgiveness and strength to obey by the power of the Spirit, and continue down the road of righteousness seeking first His kingdom.
“for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.”  (Proverbs 24:16)
“30 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness[d] did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written,

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense;

    and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”  Romans 9:30-33
The Jews missed it because they made up their own laws and threw out God’s laws because they did not have faith.  The gospel went out to the Gentiles.  “For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical.
But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.”  (Romans 2:28-29)  The New Testament, a lot of it, is writing to us, Gentiles because the stone in Zion became an offense.  They wanted autonomy instead of seeking first God’s kingdom by faith in Jesus Christ.
When you don’t approach the Torah (God’s law by faith) you stumble because it is by their own righteousness.  Christ is the goal of the law.  The law is designed by God’s grace and mercy to give us an abundant life (John 10:10).  The law doesn’t give life–it is faith in Christ that gives life, but obedience to the law is perfectly expected.  In Exodus 19, the Israelites understood God’s grace by responding, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do.”  (Exodus 19:8)
  The law was given as a blessing to God’s people.  Never did God say to his people, “Do these things and you will be worthy of me.” (Bahnsen)  God is gracious and merciful.  He knows we are sinners and would have ended it in the garden if he wanted to.  The Torah (law) are God’s instructions for the way to an abundant life.  He wants you to enjoy Him and live abundantly blessed.  God is not a tyrant, but tyranny results from man’s autonomy from His law.  All the words revealed in His Torah (law) are to be taught.  Otherwise, we have a society that collapses from chaos and disorder.
I hope this helps your understanding of God’s grace in the law.
Thank you to Dr. Greg Bahnsen SCCCS and Apologia Radio/Ministries
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