Doctrine vs. Logic: Jesus kept the Law so we don't have to
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According to Merriam-Webster, doctrine is defined as "teaching, instruction, or a principle or position or a body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief." They define logic as "a science that deals with the principles and criteria of validity of inference and demonstration: the science of the formal principles of reasoning." Doctrine and logic should go hand in hand and not be in opposition of one another. If a teaching or doctrine is in opposition to a logical conclusion of the target subject, then it is highly encouraged to reexamine such doctrine in order to determine a more sensible outcome. In other words, teachings and doctrinal positions, especially in the theological world, must be rooted in a logical assessment of the target material in order to stand as factual and true. If a conclusion is illogical—which is lacking sense or devoid of logic—then it is most likely faulty or can only withstand the title of theory until further evidence coaxes such a conclusion into a more reasonable realm. This brief understanding is defined to encourage all believers to test what they have been taught as "sound doctrine" or sound teaching to ensure that such beliefs are rooted in a clear and logical evaluation of the Biblical text. That is why our ministry always strives to inspire our audience to test everything, and only hold on to what is good and true. The Doctrine vs. Logic series is designed to motivate believers to question and test what they have been taught to be sound doctrine when such teachings seem to oppose sound logic.
This week, we will put to test a highly regarded doctrine that has dominated the Christian faith for decades:
"Jesus kept the Law (Torah), so that we as believers don't have to."
This Christian doctrine instructs believers that they do not need to strive to keep the Law of God (Law of Moses/Torah) because Jesus Christ kept it for them. This teaching couples with another Christian doctrine that the Law of God is too difficult, which is why we needed a savior—witnessed through Jesus Christ—to live a sinless life (keeping the Law) because we never could. The idea is that when one accepts the Messiah—believes he died for their sins and rose from the dead—they are no longer under the Law of God and thus do not need to bother themselves with keeping it. Consequently, that means that dietary instructions, Sabbath keeping, and even the rest of the Ten Commandments lose their weight and no longer need a believer's attention. Many Christians differ on the specifics of which commands and/or how each command is relevant post Messiah, but most denominations agree with this doctrinal statement: Jesus kept the Law so that we don't have to.
So, does this stand up to a logical understanding of the scriptures as a whole?
Unfortunately, not at all.
It sounds good, especially in light of proof texts such as Romans 10:4, Galatians 3:23-25, and Ephesians 2:15. This doctrine tickles our ears; under it there is no necessity to truly submit to a form of rules or instructions. Under this Christian doctrine, one can make up their own rules—which has played a major part in the 45,000 and growing denominations. Sure, every church is keen to note that they are under the Law of Christ, yet they erroneously disconnect the Law of Christ from the Law of Yehovah. This allows for disagreements on what the Law of Christ truly labels. Instead, this faulty piece of doctrine allows for the opportunity to attach the "Law of Christ" to one's own perspective of how the Apostles lived their lives after Messiah's resurrection and ascension. One should begin to recognize the dangerous doors that are opened because of this defective doctrine.
What keeps us from seeing the true perspective that destroys this doctrine? Even more important, what keeps us from even testing this fallacious doctrine? The reality that we WANT it to be true! We must be honest with ourselves, we want that statement to be true...
Deep down inside, we know that if this doctrine is false and in error, then many life changes will need to take place throughout the "church body" and especially in our own personal lives. Not only that, many of the established "truths" of Christianity today would be forced to be reexamined and corrected.
Common questions that immediately come to mind:
How could we be wrong about this for so long?
How could almost every church in America and around the world be wrong on something so important?
Again, the sad reality lies in this simple truth: we don't want this particular doctrine to be wrong. Simply put, we do not want to learn and submit to the Law of our Creator. For example, those that have humbled themselves and realized that this is an erroneous Christian teaching, either strive to show this to fellow believers in their church and either leave on their own accord or are unlovingly ousted. Pastors and church leaders that have this epiphany are quickly ushered away from their pulpit and relieved of their positon. The majority of churchgoers do not want to believe that the Law of Yehovah is still vital in a believer's life today. But investigation will prove, submitting to the Law of Yehovah is exactly what our Messiah called us to do:
"Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect."
"Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
"My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me."
According to scripture, one is a child of Yehovah when they strive to keep his commandments.
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
1 John 5:2-3
If one is freed from the Law of Yehovah, and there was a change to it or they are no longer encouraged to strive to keep it, than it is of little importance. Sure, one can chalk the Law up to "good principles to follow," but that negates the reality that good principles must first be kept literally before they can be applied in principle. If you ignore the literal instruction, what is the point of keeping the principle of it? That's just illogical.
Let's lay this doctrine out and test its logic with a quick analogy. Picture this: you've recently committed a crime of theft. In fact, many crimes. You've stolen valuables of significant value and have been brought before the courts to be found guilty. The punishment is substantial: $25,000 in fines and penalties. You face years in prison and will be held accountable for those fines once you are released. You realize you're guilty and that you rightfully deserve the punishment you've been dealt. However, just before you accept your punishment and enter the beginning of your grievous prison sentence, a loved one stands up and pleads to take on the penalty of your crimes for you. That loved one pleads with the judge, showing their innocence of your crimes to prove their eligibility to freely accept your punishment without cause, and convinces the judge to let them take on the burden of the punishment of the law. That loved one stands in your stead, to serve your prison sentence and pay your fine, in order that you may walk free from the courtroom. They will serve your prison time and be required to pay your hefty fine. The law requires punishment and compensation to take place. Justice must be served—yet an innocent party takes on that just judgment upon themselves for you. Wow. You are truly loved!
After your loved one is cuffed, shamed with prison attire, placed behind bares, your fine and due penalty attached to their records, you're able to walk unhindered from the courtroom into the blissful air of freedom! So, what do you do next? With your newfound freedom in hand, you head to the nearest bank to fix your adrenaline craving to thieve again! ... Right?!
Does that make logical sense? That after your loved one steps in and takes your penalty upon themselves, you return to break the law that you were recently released from? No way. Who would trample the very grace they were shown by their loved one? Who would go out and commit another crime after a family member just stepped in to free you from the penalty of the law?
Not one sincerely loving person on this earth.
That's the point. And that is exactly what we do when we say that "Jesus kept the Law so that we don't have to." When we believe that our Messiah took the penalty for our sins upon his shoulders and then we go out and continue in our sin by not striving to keep the Law of God, we trample the very grace he showed us!!
When Messiah Yeshua died on the cross, he took the penalty of the Law of God on his back—which was our deserved death. His action of grace and mercy did not change the definition of sin or the measure we are held to—the definition of sin cannot change. The Law cannot and did not change. Again, sin still has the same definition.
A judge does not change the Law because someone failed to keep it. This is especially true when the Law of Yehovah is a revelation of who He is. If He cannot change, neither can
Instead of changing what sin is, which is impossible, our Messiah took our just punishment on his shoulders so we do not have to bear it. We can then live in freedom, by striving to live a life that does not trample the gift of grace that we are given. We are no longer under the Law of sin and death, which requires justice to be served for our sinful actions. When we accept this free gift, we are no longer under the Law that requires our death as justice for our crimes. Once we are freed from the Law, we are to strive to be obedient children and walk in the pureness of our Messiah who showed us how to keep and honor our Father's instructions(Law).
This is exactly what Hebrews 10 speaks of when it talks about trampling the Spirit of grace:
How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay." and again, "Yehovah will judge his people." It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
True believers, those that love Yehovah with all their heart, soul, and mind, will do everything they can to be obedient children by avoiding sin. Those that have truly accepted the gift that our Messiah gave through his death, burial, and resurrection, will do everything they can not to trample that very grace. Believers are not to return to a life of crime—a life of sin. No, they will do everything they can not to be found guilty again. When they stumble, they have Yeshua as their advocate (1 John 2:1). But they can rest assured that Yehovah will finish the work He started in them (Philippians 1:6). For, if Messiah is for us, who is against us?! We can do all things through our Messiah that strengthens us!
That is why John makes this crystal clear declaration:
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you.
Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.
Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him;
and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
1 John 3: 1-10
We hope this blog encourages you to further test this erroneous Christian doctrine that encourages believers to change the definition of sin, or live a life that ignores the perfect instructions of our heavenly Father.
This teaching, that "Jesus kept the Law for us, so that we don't have to," is definitely an example of Doctrine vs. Logic. It opposes sensibility. And it must be questioned and reexamined closely. The love of our Creator and His perfect son is at stake! It is every individuals responsibility to make sure they are following the true Messiah of Holy Scripture and not a god to suit themselves. We pray that logic will prevail in your life. A victory that will guide you on a path of sound teaching rooted in the perfect truth of Holy Scripture. Remember, we are called to walk in the image of our Messiah. One half of this doctrine is correct, Yeshua kept the Law of Yehovah perfectly, but he has always called us to do the same. Repent, and go and sin no more.
Sean is a former Atheist who was finally awoken to the reality of our Creator—which lead him to the one place he thought he would never step foot: “Bible College.” During his studies, our Heavenly Father flipped his Christian worldview upside down in order to reveal the Whole truth of His perfect Word. As a follower of Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus), Sean encourages believers to deepen their faith, seek the truth, test everything, and be willing to walk in the true image they were created: the image of the Most High and his flawless son.