Summary: The other pastor at my church shared this fine primer on the concerns we have about the Hebraic Roots Movement, which is currently growing in church circles around the nation.
STAND FAST IN LIBERTY
Pastor Dallas Henry
July 5, 2015
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
There is a term in Christianity, called “legalism”. Legalism, by definition, is the excessive and improper use of the law (10 commandments, holiness laws, etc.). Legalism can take on different forms. One is where a person attempts to keep the Law in order to attain salvation. Another is where a person attempts keeps the law in order to maintain his salvation. And another is when a Christian judges other Christians for not keeping certain codes of conduct that he thinks need to be observed.
The New Testament clearly teaches that Christians have liberty in Christ, under Grace, which Old Testament believers did not have under the law. Much of Romans, practically the entire book of Galatians, and lots of other scriptures, deal clearly with this. God gave so much text on this issue because man has a tendency to reduce living out their Christianity to a set of rules.
The Bible clearly states that we are not under the law. Romans 6:14 says, "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace." Since we are under grace, we are not under the law. The two are mutually exclusive.
Paul preached that Jesus Christ has delivered us from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:10-13). “For as many as are out of works of the Law, these are under a curse; for it is written, Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the Book of the Law, to do them. But that no one is justified by the Law in the sight of God is clear, for, The just shall live by faith. But the Law is not of faith; but, The man who does these things shall live in them. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us for it is written, Cursed is everyone having been hanged on a tree);
Before faith came (faith in the person of Jesus Christ), we were kept under the law (Galatians 3:23-25). The "law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ. But after that, faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster”. How much clearer could it be? We are no longer under the Mosaic law as a rule of practice.
In Galatians, Paul goes even further. The very desire to be under the law is a carnal desire. He calls the Galatians "foolish" for trying to return to the practices of the law as a way to please God (Galatians 3:1-3). In chapter 4:21-31, he tells an allegory to those "that desire to be under the law" (v.21). He concludes that those who follow the law are "children of the bondwoman" (v.31), but those who follow faith are "free." Paul is not dealing with the law as a plan for salvation. He is dealing with those who have trusted in Christ and then desire to return to the law in order to please God.
In Acts 15, the council in Jerusalem plainly stated that the requirements of the law were not to be expected from Gentile believers. It also clearly states that Jews must come to Christ in the same way that Gentiles get saved; "But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they" (v.11). The problem came when certain of the Pharisees decided that the Gentiles who had believed must also be circumcised and keep the law of Moses (v.5). The men at the conference (including Peter, Paul, Barnabas, and James the brother of Jesus) agreed that this was not to be required of the Gentiles. Peter even accused the Pharisees of tempting God, "to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear" (v.10). It is an insult to God to require grace-age believers to keep the Jewish regulations of the law that has been fulfilled by Jesus.