What about the other requirements of the Law? Sabbath worship, tithing, circumcision, water baptism (or ritual washing), kosher dietary laws, worship, high priests, special clothing, feast days, etc.

Are any of these things required for the Church? Are we better Christians if we continue to practice some or all of these things?

These are important questions to answer, especially in light of the seemingly growing numbers of Christians participating in what is called “Messianic Judaism.” Our answer is “No, these things are not required for the Church” (Acts 15:10 and 11; Rom. 10:4; Gal. 2:14-16, 3:21-25, et al). Furthermore, the Church is neither “better off” nor “more sacred” when it adopts practices that God has not prescribed for it. This is important, because mankind seems always to be looking for something that satisfies the flesh and makes us feel like we are doing works that help us stand approved before God. Many people “feel” more holy worshipping in a church building than around a kitchen table, and some people feel that they are somehow more holy when they keep the Old Testament feasts and rituals. The Church of the Body of Christ has been directed to worship God in the spirit and “put no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3), and obedience to God’s directives is the way to please Him. Were Sabbath regulations, ritual washing, etc., valid in their time, and will some (like Temple worship) be valid in the future? Yes, but only for Israel.

Is there value to Messianic Judaism? Yes, we can definitely see some. Messianic Jews are often able to win other Jews to “Yeshua” (the Hebrew name for Jesus) by presenting him in the context of synagogue worship, etc. They also provide a worship service with a distinctive Jewish flavor for those who are inspired by the meaning and antiquity of that. But Messianic Jews do not have more of God’s ear because they keep synagogue worship and have a Hebrew liturgy. Neither do we believe that Messianic Jews are on the cutting edge of New Testament Christianity, nor that they can say they are practicing the faith as it really ought to be practiced. God is no respecter of persons, nor a respecter of Jewish forms of worship over that of other nationalities and cultures. The Church is called to spiritual worship as indicated by Galatians 3:1-5, 1 Corinthians 12-14 and Philippians 3:3.

Do Jews today find special favor in God’s sight by continuing to keep the Law of Moses? No. In point of fact, even the most diligent Jews are not truly keeping the Law, because they do not sacrifice animals. Furthermore, by acknowledging the Law’s validity and by attempting to keep any part of it, they are logically indebted to keep the whole thing (Gal. 5:3). Because they neither sacrifice animals nor recognize Christ’s sacrifice for them, Jews today are, in biblical terms, “yet in their sins.”

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2 comments

  1. Thank you for this article. Truly! “and put no confidence in the flesh (Phil. 3:3).”

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