The Torah of Messiah

“Hear now, O Israel, the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you. Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.” (Deuteronomy 4:1-2)

Before the Torah

We know with certainty that Adam and Eve instructed their sons in the knowledge of God. The promise of the Redeemer, who would crush the head of the serpent, was given to Adam and Eve and passed on to their children. Torah means teaching or instruction, and it is clear that Cain and Abel had received instruction on how to walk before God. Cain and Abel knew to bring sacrifices to God, but Cain did not do what was right in the LORD’S sight and he fell into sin.

Noah was instructed to take seven of every kind of kosher animal and a pair of every kind of unkosher animal. Therefore it is evident that even before God gave his law through Moses, man had already been taught what sacrifices were acceptable and knew how to discern between kosher and unkosher animals. It is obvious that man’s knowledge of righteousness before God exceeded the so-called seven fundamental ‘Noachide’ laws.

It takes only a single generation for men to fall into sin and rebellion. Mankind did not start out as pagan idolaters – they exchanged the knowledge of God for a lie and turned to worship worthless idols:

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened …They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised. Amen.” (Romans 1:18-25)

When the LORD repeated the promises that he had given to Abraham to Isaac he said,

“I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws.” (Genesis 26:4-5)

What were the commandments, decrees and laws that Abraham kept? Were they just the “Noachide laws” or did Abraham’s walk before the Lord go beyond those basic laws? Abraham knew and practised sacrifices, circumcision and tithing. The faith of Abraham included the belief and hope in the coming Messiah. Jesus said: “Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”

Moses too believed and hoped in the promise of the Messiah. The book of Hebrews tells us:

“By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Messiah as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.” (Hebrews 11:24-26)

The cornerstone and goal of the Jewish faith was always the belief and hope in the coming Messiah and Redeemer. True Christianity, which is founded in the Hebrew Scriptures, is the fulfilment of that hope and the true expression of the New Covenant with Israel. Those who by faith count themselves as dead to the sinful pleasures of this world, and who choose to suffer disgrace for the sake of Messiah, are of the same faith as Abraham and Moses. When the law was given through Moses, to govern the people until the coming of Messiah, it did not alter the promise.

“Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say ‘and to seeds,’ meaning many people, but ‘and to your seed,’ meaning one person, who is Christ. What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise. What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come.” (Galatians 3:15-19)

The Purpose of the Torah

Harold J. Brokke summed up the purpose of the law in his book, The Law is Holy: “The law is like a very objective doctor who makes a diagnosis of his patients and discovers the disease of sin and guilt in the soul of man, but has no cure to offer.”

The numerous sacrifices required by the Law of Moses made one thing clear – the consequence of sin is death! An animal that has an incurable disease is usually put down to avoid prolonged suffering. The LORD said through the prophet Ezekiel (18:4): “The soul who sins is the one who will die.”

The Lord called heaven and earth as witnesses against his people to the blessings and curses which he set before them. If they were disobedient the people would come under the curses enumerated. Intentional and deliberate disobedience was punishable by death. In the book of Numbers an instance is recorded where a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath. The Lord instructed Moses to put him to death and he was stoned (Numbers 15:32).

Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:12)

Sin is missing the mark of God’s perfect law, and therefore without law we would not know what sin is. The law makes us conscious of sin and is therefore essential in bringing us to Messiah. However, the law does not have the remedy for sin and it cannot impart eternal life.

“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.” (1 Corinthians 15:56)

Many Rabbis have taught that the Law of Moses is a “tree of life,” but in reality it is the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” When we eat from it we will surely die, because the wages of sin is death and the Torah exposes our sin. It shows the way of life, but it cannot impart life to sinners. It is not the Torah which brings life or death. Death comes through sin. The Torah merely exposes our sin and imposes the penalty of death. The Torah made provision for an innocent animal to be sacrificed in the place of the guilty. The shedding of blood served as a constant reminder of the guilt of sin and of its penalty, but it only provided a temporary sanctification so that the people were outwardly clean (Hebrews 9:13). The apostle Paul described the Law of Moses as a ministry that brought death and a ministry that condemns:

Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! (2 Corinthians 3:7-9)

The Law of Moses was given to curb the sinful inclinations of men. It was, however, powerless to change the heart of man. Something more was needed. King David voiced the yearning of sinful man to be set free from the bondage of sin: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). The promise of the New Covenant in Messiah answered this need – the law would no longer be external but would be written upon the heart of man.

Did Jesus abolish the Torah?

The Law of Moses constitutes the terms of the covenant which the LORD made at Sinai. It cannot be amended or altered. “Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you” (Deut. 4:2). A person is a lawbreaker if they break just one law. There is no such thing as partial obedience.

“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10).

Rabbinical Judaism professes to uphold the Torah and accuses Christian missionaries of enticing Jewish people away from the faith and traditions of their forefathers. Jesus said the following concerning 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 fulfil them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter (yod), not the least stroke of a pen (tittle), will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks 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 practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-20)

The Pharisees tried to trap Jesus because he had a reputation of forgiving sinners. They wanted to see if he would uphold the law: The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. (John 8:3-6)

Jesus did not undermine the law. He merely said that whoever was without sin should be the first to carry out the death sentence. He was the only one among them who was perfect in righteousness and who could have carried out the sentence of the law, but he knew that he had come for that very purpose – to be made a sin offering. He did not brush aside the penalty of sin – he took it upon himself. Those who tried to trap him were brought under the conviction of their own sin. When we condemn another sinner to death we condemn ourselves. The entire world stands condemned by the law. Jesus did not come to condemn us but to redeem us.

Are the Law of Moses and the Law of Messiah one and the same?

From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John. 1:16)

It is thought by some that the law of Messiah that is written upon our heart is identical to the Law of Moses, the only difference being that the Holy Spirit is given to enable us to walk in obedience. I have already made the point that the law was given as a restraint but it could not change our hearts. The Torah restrained the outward expression of sin, but Jesus revealed that the root of the problem is not in our actions but in our heart.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27)

If the Law of Moses brought death for the sinner, how does the law of the New Covenant impart life? Only Jesus lived in perfect obedience to the Torah, thus he could have obtained eternal life in the flesh. Seen in that light he is the perfect model of obedience to which all men could aspire. After all he did say that he did not come to abolish the Torah. Nevertheless, despite the perfect law of God and the Messiah as a living example of perfect obedience, we would still be unable to attain righteousness ourselves. The perfect example of Messiah would only antagonize our sinful nature. It would not change the condition of our heart.

The law of Messiah that is written upon our heart, in fulfilment of the New Covenant, goes far beyond the Law of Moses. It requires the sinful nature to be put to death and imparts spiritual life. For one who has not been born of the Spirit, the putting to death of the sinful nature is the putting to death of virtually all that our lives consist of, for before we are born of the Spirit our whole life consists in the flesh. That is why the carnal man cannot understand the things of the Spirit. The Law of Moses applied to the flesh to keep the sinful nature in check, but those who are led by the Spirit are no longer under the supervision of the law. If the sinful nature has been put to death by the sentence of the law, there is no further penalty and we have been released from the law. The law of Messiah brings life through death.

“But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.” (Romans 7:6)

It is not the Law of Moses that has been abolished – it is the life to which the law applied that has been counted as dead. Grace is not a means to avoid the penalty of sin. It does not disregard the seriousness of transgressing God’s perfect law. Grace does not permit the sinner to continue in a life of sin while merely removing the consequences. Grace allows the sinner to be set free from sin only through counting themselves dead in Messiah.

“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.” (Romans 6:1-5)

Under the Old Covenant there existed a distinction between Jew and Gentile, which applied to the life in the flesh. Under the New Covenant the flesh, to which the law applies, is crucified and counted as dead.

“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.” (Ephesians 2:14-16)

The Scripture says that he abolished the law with its commandments and regulations applying to the flesh by his death on the cross. We cannot avoid the cross and think that the law will not condemn us. We are called to take up our cross and put to death the sinful nature. We cannot count ourselves as dead to the law and then proceed to live to please the sinful nature. Such a claim would be fraudulent. It would be like pretending to have died in order to cash in a life assurance policy. If we live according to the sinful nature we have not really died with Messiah and cannot claim to be set free from the law. The law is there to condemn sin.

Many lawless people have masqueraded as disciples of Jesus, using grace as a license to indulge the sinful nature. The Scripture tells us that the acts of the sinful nature are obvious and it is therefore not difficult to discern between those who are truly led by the Spirit and those who are controlled by the sinful nature. Jesus said that unless our righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the Rabbis we will not enter the Kingdom of heaven! The life in the Spirit to which Jesus has called us is a life of righteousness, not lawlessness. Jesus is the mediator of a superior covenant founded on better promises and the ministry of the Spirit in writing his law upon the hearts of believers is far superior to the ministry that came on tablets of stone.

How does the Law of Messiah relate to the Law of Moses?

Paul refers to himself as being, ‘not under the law,’ but ‘under Christ’s law,’ thereby making a clear distinction between the Law of Moses and the law of Messiah (1 Cor.9:21). If we, like Paul, have died to the Law of Moses in order that we might live for God we would be foolish to then try to attain righteousness through Torah observance. We will be rebuilding the very thing which condemned us in the first place, proving that we are lawbreakers and that we have not effectively put to death the sinful nature (Gal.2:18). The law of Messiah is, “live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (Galatians 5:16). The Law of Moses brings us to the knowledge of sin – the law of Messiah sets us free from sin through death and imparts spiritual life through the resurrection that we might live for God. Our guide for righteous living is no longer the Law of Moses but the Spirit of Messiah.

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:16-17)

When a caterpillar is transformed into a butterfly, it no longer behaves like a caterpillar. It is governed by different laws that allow it greater freedom. A caterpillar cannot live a butterfly and a butterfly cannot live as a caterpillar.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

“Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Messiah, he does not belong to Messiah. But if Messiah is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Messiah from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation – but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Romans 8:5-14)

Paul uses the analogy of a marriage to illustrate that we cannot be married to both the Old Covenant and the New Covenant at the same time. We have been set free from the yoke of the Torah so that we might belong to Messiah. We have to die to the one in order to enter into the other. But if we have died to what once bound us we are free to be yoked to Messiah.

The destruction of the temple forced the emergence of two distinct streams from within Judaism. This established the messianic faith of the New Covenant as distinct from that of Rabbinical Talmudic Judaism. If this had not happened the teachers would almost certainly have “sewn the new patch onto the old garment.” They would have tried to live in a “marriage” to the old and new at the same time. Instead of counting themselves as dead to the old they would have mingled the two, trying to live by faith in Messiah and under the Law at the same time. The faith which has been revealed through the new covenant is not based upon nor determined by the Law of Moses.

The Galatian Problem

The early believers were all Jews who remained zealous for the law. When many Gentiles also believed, some Jewish believers were convinced that they should be brought under the yoke of the Torah. Paul used harsh language to rebuke those who were throwing the Galatian church into confusion, accusing them of hypocrisy and of perverting the gospel. Despite the inspired teaching of Paul in his letters to the churches at Rome and Galatia, there are evidently still some who are throwing believers into confusion, insisting that all believers should observe the Law of Moses. Another group maintains that while Gentile believers do not have to observe the Torah, it is incumbent upon all Jewish believers to do so. Certain passages in the book of Acts are used as proof texts for this line of teaching:

Then they said to Paul: “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law. They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs. What shall we do? They will certainly hear that you have come, so do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a vow. Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everybody will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law. As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.” The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the offering would be made for each of them.” (Acts 21:20-26)

This passage is cited as Paul’s moment of truth, and that by Paul agreeing to the temple ritual he set a precedent that all Jewish believers remain under the yoke of the Torah. However, they ignore other passages where Paul explained his motives. Paul stated that to those under the law he became as one under the law, though he himself was not under the law, and to those not having the law he would be as one not having the law, his motivation being to win them to Messiah. His guiding principle was that his freedom should never cause anyone else to stumble and that he would adopt whatever was necessary for the sake of the gospel, if necessary giving up his freedom for the sake of others. Furthermore, this event took place within the context of the transition from the Old Covenant to the new while the temple was still standing and the Priesthood still functioned. During this period the good news of the New Covenant was being proclaimed throughout Israel. The apostle Paul was accused of teaching against the Law of Moses. In his defence he said, “I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen – that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.” (Acts 26:23)

Paul cannot be accused of teaching anyone to disobey the Law of Moses. He did not treat the Priesthood with contempt even though the greater High Priest in the order of Melchizedek had already entered the heavenly sanctuary to atone for sin once for all with his own blood. Neither did he call for the abolition of the Levitical Priesthood. The LORD himself brought an end to the ministry of the Priests through the destruction of the temple.

If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come – one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law. (Hebrews 7:11)

The Law of Moses was given on the basis of the Levitical Priesthood. If the Levitical Priesthood is suspended then the entire basis of the law has been taken away. That is why there had to be a change of the law – not a change to the existing law but a new law – one that is based, not upon the old priesthood, but upon the power of the indestructible life of Jesus, who is both our King and High Priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. Thus when the LORD allowed the temple to be destroyed he handed all men over to disobedience as far as the Mosaic Covenant is concerned.

Some maintain that there has been a change to the law, (in respect of the Levitical Priesthood and the sacrifices which no longer apply), not a change of the law, i.e. the rest of the Law of Moses still applies. However, the Torah makes no room for such vast amendments – which are the very basis of the Law of Moses. Amending the Torah is in itself a gross violation of the Torah. The Priesthood and the sacrifices represent substantially more than a yod and a tittle of the law. Without them anyone who is trying to live according to the Law of Moses, can, through force of circumstance, observe only about one third of it. All who try to be justified by it will therefore be condemned by it for God himself removed the means of atonement provided under the Law of Moses. We either come into the New Covenant, and accept the yoke of Messiah, or we remain under the yoke of the Law of Moses and will be condemned by it, for no-one will be justified before God by observing the law:

“But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set.” (John 5:45)

The LORD said, in the Torah, that he would send a prophet like Moses and that failure to listen to him will result in judgement:

“I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account.” (Deuteronomy 18:18-19)

In reference to himself being the prophet like Moses Jesus said, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin” (John 15:22). The reason that they were not guilty of sin before was that he had not yet spoken and there was temporary provision for atonement in the Mosaic Law. That provision was removed when the temple was destroyed.

The Torah cannot be fully obeyed and partial obedience still amounts to disobedience. The cross is the central message of the New Covenant. New life does not come without the old life being crucified. To teach people to take up the cross, and by accepting the sentence of the law to count themselves as dead and buried with Messiah through baptism, is not tampering with the Law of Moses – rather we uphold it. Who can bring an accusation of the law against one who has already died? Death is the ultimate penalty for lawbreakers.

Having been released from the Torah by death, we may not use our freedom to indulge the sinful nature. Only those who are led by the Holy Spirit are no longer under the supervision of the Law of Moses. This applies to all believers, whether they are from a Jewish or Gentile background. Any suggestion to the contrary interferes with the unity of the Spirit of one body of believers. To suggest that Jewish believers remain under the supervision of the Law of Moses, is to question the efficacy of the leading of the Holy Spirit and it seriously undermines the cross.

The other extreme are those who try to use grace as a license for immorality and who claim to be walking in faith while indulging the sinful nature. The Holy Spirit does not lead us into sin and nor does faith permit us to indulge the sinful nature. The suggestion that grace overlooks sin undermines the seriousness of sin. The curse was not lifted so lightly. Messiah was made a curse for us and we are also required to take up our cross and suffer for his Name’s sake outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. The death sentence of the Law of Moses cannot and must not be removed, for in so doing it undermines the cross.

“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”(Galatians 2:19-21)

The faith and hope of Israel, from Adam, through the patriarchs, and including Moses and all the prophets, was never in the law – it was always in Messiah. There has never been any antidote for sin but Messiah. There has never been any hope of redemption apart from Messiah and the way is through death. If there was any other way Messiah would not have had to die.

The Law of Moses is not based on faith

‘All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.” Messiah redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Messiah Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.’ (Galatians 3:10-14)

The argument that Paul was addressing only Gentile believers, and that Jewish believers remain under the obligation to live according to the Law of Moses, which is not based on faith, is seriously misleading. In that very letter to the Gentile believers at Galatia, Paul includes himself and Peter, whom he rebuked for not acting in line with the truth of the gospel. In that same letter, Paul states that there is no longer any distinction between Jew and Gentile in Messiah.

‘We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus the Messiah. So we, too, have put our faith in Messiah Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Messiah and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.’ (Galatians 2:15)

If faithfulness is assessed by our efforts and intentions rather than on actual obedience it would invalidate the Torah. Faithfulness is not measured by obedience to the Torah – David ate the consecrated bread, which was unlawful, but he acted in faith. However, true faithfulness will be reflected by the extent to which we submit to Messiah and his Spirit.

Despite Paul’s teaching, there are those who maintain that Jewish believers are under an obligation to observe everything that can still be observed of the Law of Moses, and that Paul was merely saying that they should not seek to be justified by it. It is impossible to walk by faith in Messiah and to measure that faith according to the Torah. The Torah is not based on faith, but the law of Messiah teaches that anything which is not done with a clear conscience, and in faith, is sin. The Law of Moses is black and white. It makes no provision for individual conscience or faith – “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” The law of the Spirit is subjective to a degree, which is threatening to those who like to have everything in black and white. As long as we walk in faith with a clear conscience and do not cause others to stumble we are not sinning. Above all “let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification” (Romans 14:19). “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Messiah” (Galatians 6:2).

‘It is for freedom that Messiah has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.’ (Galatians 5:1)