As a child, I LOVED visiting the pool. Maybe a neighbor’s pool or summer camp, etc. Hot and humid South Carolina weather made the cool clear waters a wonderful respite.
Most pools we visited had some form of posted rules.
- No running!
- No diving!
- No rough-housing, etc…
Often, breaking these rules led to the dreaded ‘time-out.’ All my friends playing and me sitting by mom or the life-guard watching… mournfully.
Had I been a more rebellious sort, I might have found that continued rule-breaking would lead to greater and greater penalties. Possibly, even, not being invited back.
In my immaturity, my view of the rules, or ‘law of the pool,’ was that it was restrictive. It seemed to needlessly curtail all the ‘fun!’ Pushing someone into the pool or chasing someone with a ‘rat-tail’ towel was a game!
As I grew older, I was certified as a lifeguard and further understood a bit about the purpose for the rules, though, being in my late teens, there were times that even I, the lifeguard, would break rules in the name of ‘fun,’ or ‘flirting,’ as the case may be.
Now, as a parent with my own children, I find the rules at the pool to not be restrictive, but to be protective. I appreciate to a MUCH greater degree the ‘inconvenience’ of a trip to the Emergency Room. One could say that I have finally matured to not only know and understand the rules, but to desire their implementation in my life around the pool. They protect me.
As I pondered more deeply a post I wrote yesterday concerning maturity, I realized that a Christian’s relationship with the Law should be much the same way as we/they grow.
Perhaps one of the great tragedies of Scripture translation is the (mis)use of the word ‘law’ for most occurrences of the Hebrew word ‘torah.’ The word ‘torah’ has a much deeper and more fully faceted meaning that more precisely should be translated as ‘instructions.’ Instinctively, due to the general use of ‘law,’ man finds the Torah of Moses to be ‘binding.’ In truth, the Torah is actually a set of instructions meant to act as guardrails, or pointers to healthy, wholesome, blessed living.
Yesterday, Ken Rank posted a short video explaining this very point:
Christendom rightly points out that the Law was to lead us to Christ, but they then believe that once we find Christ, we no longer need the Law.
On page 68 of The New Testament Validates Torah, J.K. McKee quotes from John Wesley’s Sermon #34 addressing this very error,
I am afraid this great and important truth is little understood, not only by the world, but even by many whom God hath taken out of the world, who are real children of God by faith. Many of these lay it down as an unquestioned truth, that when we come to Christ, we have done with the law; and that, in this sense, ‘Christ is the end of the law to everyone that believeth.’ – so he is, ‘for the righteousness,’ for justification, ‘to every one that believeth.’ Herein the law is at an end. It justifies none, but only brings them to Christ; who is also, in another respect, the end, or scope of the law, -the point at which it continually aims. But when it has brought us to him, it has yet a farther office, namely, to keep us with him. For it is continually excited by all believers, the more the see of its height, and depth, and length, and breadth, to exhort one another so much the more…
Therefore, I cannot spare the law one moment, nor more than I can spare Christ: seeing I now want it as much, to keep me to Christ, as I ever wanted it to bring me to him. Otherwise, this ‘evil heart of unbelief’ would immediately ‘depart from the Living God.’ Indeed each is continually sending me to the other,- the law to Christ, and Christ to the law. On the one hand, the height and depth of the law constrain me to fly to the love of God in Christ; on the other, the love of God in Christ endears the law to me ‘above gold or precious stones;’ seeing I know every part of it as a gracious promise, which my Lord will fulfill in its season.
Immaturity, as we saw yesterday, seeks to find ways around the Torah. Like kids at the pool doing the fast ‘I’m-not-running-even-if-it-looks-like-it’ “walk,” the goal of the immature believer is to skirt the edges, if not outright breaking, of the Law.
One way to do this is to deny that certain rules exist… Maybe the sign is faded, or as we are trying to do in this modern reformation/restoration of our Hebraic heritage, the sign needs repainting!! Adding neon pointers (in love) to insure others don’t miss it is particularly maddening to the Law deniers.
The “ceremonial laws,” a moniker attached to certain parts of the Law by those who wish to avoid anything that reminds them of the Jewishness/Hebrewness of the Messiah, have been particularly obliterated.
The neon pointers come straight out of Scripture:
For the Lord will execute judgment by fire
And by His sword on all flesh,
And those slain by the Lord will be many.
17 “Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go to the gardens,
[a]Following one in the center,
Who eat swine’s flesh, detestable things and mice,
Will come to an end altogether,” declares the Lord. Isaiah 66:16-17
Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths. 17 And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them. 18 If the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which the Lord smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths. 19 This will be the [a]punishment of Egypt, and the [b]punishment of all the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths. Zechariah 14:16-19
These passages, as well as countless others, point to
the use of, the enforcement of the “ceremonial law” before and during the Millennial reign of the Messiah. If we are mature believers, or seeking to grow to maturity and a fuller walk with our King, being conformed to His image, then should we look to the instructions He gave us and seek to be more obedient and learn of His ways?
I think so.
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5 thoughts on “No Running!!!”
Once again, excellent point!
By the way, where in SC do you live?
Do you fellowship with Ray Gardener and the Summerville congregation?
I like this too. Shabbat Shalom.
Excellent tie in. Grateful for link to McKee’s book: The New Testament Validates the Torah. Ordered a copy for myself after reading online reviews at amazon.com.
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I really like McKee’s position on most things. He is fairly moderate with much love and respect for Judah. He also is willing to wrestle with the rabbinics and articulate where they are right/wrong.