In reference to the post, below, on Oct 28th titled "The 'viper pits' of supposed Believers who view themselves as holy...." - I could not agree more! There is a high level of toxic information posted on these sites. It's a jaw-dropping mystery to me that so many are so bent on DENYING any RESPONSIBILITY to OBEY YHWH! It truly blows the mind how deep the denial runs in most circles that "grace" somehow replaced simple obedience!
How can so many take the WORD OF GOD and conclude it "does not apply" to them?
They completely dismiss at least 3/4 of the Word by ignoring the "Old Testament" (and large parts of the New Testament!), yet without comprehending the Old Testament, they don't realize there is no "New Testament"! They are thus completely blind to who the Messiah is and what He taught because they have, without knowing, totally dismissed what He taught! So since they can't know what the Messiah taught, they instead create an entire "religion" on what they "think" Apostle Paul taught! And then, to add insult to injury, they only internalize PART of what Paul said (incorrectly at that!) They completely ignore Paul's own clarification and expansion in other scriptures which would, if they only understood the OT and all they have dismissed, show them how wrong they are!
So I find myself often shaking my head in complete bewilderment how something so simple as Torah and its role in our lives is so summarily dismissed as "that Old Testament stuff"! Some, who have had such bad teachings drilled into them for so long that "Torah is the Law - it's 'works' and 'works' don't get you to heaven" - have so misunderstood Torah as to conclude that "works" are therefore "bad" and are not needed! But the very scriptures they cling to - the New Testament - says otherwise! I'll cite a few scriptures in a moment.
For sure, "works" do not "earn" you salvation. Let me make this perfectly clear. But obedience to God is required for your salvation, and God Himself defined what "obedience" is! It's the part so many have dismissed! TORAH! You see, Torah is not "Law" or "works", rather Torah is simply a way of life! It is how God Himself told us to live to be holy in his eyes! (Leviticus 19:2) Unless one can get past the misguided dogma that Torah is somehow "bad" and come to understand that it is exactly the opposite; and come to realize that the only part of "grace" that means anything is that through grace, YHWH permits us to be imperfect yet still have a chance to enter His presence; and come to understand that obedience is still part of the equation - well, their salvation is actually in jeopardy!
Let me explain...
First, what is "salvation"? It is eternal life (in the Kingdom) after death. So the question on everyone's mind should be: "How do I obtain eternal life?"
The Messiah told us how to obtain eternal life! Not Paul. The Messiah! Read it yourself in John 17:2-3. I'll wait....
Okay, so you found that eternal life is gained by knowing God, and knowing the Messiah. (Note the Messiah said nothing about "grace"!)
So your next question should be: "How do I 'know' God and the Messiah?"
Well, the Old Testament (that part most dismiss) contains the answer. But since you think that is just that "old Law stuff", please turn to the scripture you might agree still holds. Turn to 1 John 2:3-7 in the New Testament. Here, I'll give it to you:
"And by this we shall be sensible that we know him, if we keep his Commandments. For he that says I know him, and does not keep his Commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in him. But he that keeps his Word, in him is the Love of Elohim truly completed: for by this we know that we are in him. He that says I am in him is bound to walk according to his halacha. My beloved, I write no new commandment to you, but the old Commandment which you had from the beginning; and the old Commandment is the Word which you have heard."
Folks, if you dismissed the "Old Testament", Torah, you dismissed His Commandments. This is plain and simple. John is not saying "grace" replaced obedience. Paul never said grace replaced obedience. And the Messiah, if you would be good enough to go read exactly what He said, also never said "grace" would replace obedience!
So if this is true, your next question might be: "What then was the sacrifice of the Messiah for?"
I'm glad you asked!
His sacrifice for you was the "grace" part! He died as a substitute for your sins, even though you did not deserve it, all sins prior to that point where you accepted Him as your substitute! You see, if He had not died for you, you had no way to atone for your sins! But once you accept this, that He died for you as he died for everyone, then it is up to you to not sin again! "Grace" does not permit you to sin again and again and be forgiven as you've been taught! This is in your New Testament! And Paul said it:
"But they who have once descended to immersion and have tasted the gift from heaven and have received the Ruach haKodesh and have tasted the good Word of Elohim and the power of the world to come, cannot again sin and a second time be renewed to repentance; or a second time execute him on a stake and insult the Son of Elohim." (Hebrews 6:4-6)
So quit denying Torah and go learn how good Torah is for you! Learn to walk as the Messiah walked and obey YHWH as He did! You will do "works", yes, but not for you salvation, but to please YHWH! For when you know Torah and obey, you will come to know YHWH and the Messiah and realize that you do it for Him, not for yourself! The Messiah even said this:
"Now if you desire to enter into life, keep the Commandments." (Matthew 19:17)
(You find the Commandments in Torah!)
Addendum: I received a PM from someone who said: "But what about Ephesians 2:8? Doesn't that say we are now under grace?"
My Reply: Well, that verse, by itself certainly sounds that way! But did you read ALL of the Letter to the Ephesians? In Chapter 1, verse 4 he says: "According as He had previously chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world, that we might be Set Apart and without blame before Him..." Now remember, in Paul's time there was no "New Testament" yet, so the definition of "Set Apart" was the Old Testament definition: Holy and righteous by YHWH's ways, living by Torah. (Leviticus 20:26 for example.) Paul says this again in verse 18: "And that the eyes of your hearts may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the Set Apart believers." Those who are "Set Apart" are those who desire to obey YHWH. Paul actually explains in the next few verses, right after the verse you cited (2:8)! He explains that your salvation is: "Not of works, or else anyone glory (in themselves). For we are His creation who are created in Y’shua the Mashiyach for good works which Elohim has before prepared for us to walk in." (2:9-10) So you don't do "works" for salvation, but as Set Apart, you do "works" because that is the way of life you are to live! In other words you do it for YHWH, not for yourself. So Set Apart believers are NOT simply given a "free pass" to sin at-will because they have "grace", once they believe! They are to obey! And, I reiterate, obedience is defined by Torah, not by your own desires.