There is a legalistic wind blowing among many circles within the Christian faith. That wind is the attempt by natural minded men to restore or mix the Christian faith with Old Testament Law — usually called Messianic Christianity. It produces bondage to carnal ordinances and perverts the grace of God. It demotes Jesus Christ from Lord to a Rabbi and keeper of the law, and ultimately attacks the liberating message He announced during His earthly ministry. Those whose embrace and attempt to bring the Torah (Mosaic Law) into the Gospel of Jesus, are actually abandoning the message of Jesus and the Apostles in order to make disciples of men instead of disciples of Christ.
Here are some ‘catch words’ and ‘actions’ which should alert us. If you are around a friend or person who frequently adopts these words/phrases or actions, be careful…they are usually entrapped by false teachers and are enslaved by their own lack of understanding of the Scriptures. Beware if you hear or see these:
- Enamored with everything Jewish (symbols, shofar, prayer shawls, etc.)
- Continually trying to ‘Hebrew-ize’ everything about Jesus’ message
- Always referring to Jesus as Yeshua or Mashiach
- Constantly referring to God as Yahweh or Adonai
- Using Jewish letters or names for their personal identity
- Always pointing to the Law and it’s ordinances
- Demand or prefer Sabbath (Saturday) gatherings
- Exalt non-canonical books
- Obsessed with Jewish greetings and salutations
- Obsessed with Jewish music
- Sees the ‘Mark of the Beast’ in everything
- A constant diatribe against ‘organized religion’ or the ‘ institutional church’
The sad part is that some young believers are being sucked into this restored legalism. Those who have genuinely received the new birth in Jesus will respond to the light of the truth of the gospel and leave this dangerous perversion of salvation. The only way for a person to embrace this messianic perversion of the gospel is through ignorance of the New Testament teaching; particularly Paul’s letters to the Romans and the Galatians.
Let us learn and enjoy the Jewish context and background of God’s Word and revelation to man. Let us study and appreciate all the cultural expressions and timeless truths we learn from the writers of the Old Testament. Jesus, our Messiah was Jewish, fulfilled the Law perfectly, and as God’s Only Begotten Son, delivered us from the bondage of the law. We can only properly understand the fall of man, the covenants of God and the promise of a Redeemer through sound biblical hermeneutics. Understanding the Temple, the sacrifices, the Feasts of Israel and the biblical trials of the nation of Israel brings out many timeless applications from God to man. However, let us equally understand that we live under and have a New Covenant, based on better promises offered to us by grace through faith alone!
We should Love those entrapped in this messianic legalism and attempt to reach them, however, beware of this…they are walking in legalism, not grace! I’ve seen men delivered from this delusion, and that is a beautiful thing indeed! May the truth of Scripture always be our standard.
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Rom.10:4)
“But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” (Rom.11:6)
“I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” (Gal.2:21)
“You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.” (Gal.5:4)