The Scriptures reveal that the Torah is much more than a list of dos and don’ts as many people have been led to believe, and is therefore, in their mind, a negative thing. Deuteronomy 4:6 says that the Torah is our wisdom and understanding before the nations of the world. In Deuteronomy 11:8, we learn that the Torah makes us strong. The word strong in Hebrew is chazaq meaning “to be strong, grow strong, to prevail, to be firm, be caught fast, be secure, to grow stout, grow rigid, to restore to strength, give strength, sustain, encourage, make bold, encourage, to repair or to withstand.” This sounds like a good thing!
Sadly, most Christians have been told again and again ad infinitum and ad nauseam that the law of Moses or God’s Torah-law is against us, that we are not under it, that it was nailed to the cross or done away with. Nothing could be further from the truth as we shall see below.
Contrary to what most people have been told, YHVH’s Torah is not against man; rather, it might be said that God’s (Elohim’s) Torah-law itself is neutral; neither positive nor negative. In reality, it is like a mirror that simply reflects the image portrayed in it. Torah reacts according to human action. Those who obey it are blessed and those who disobey it are cursed. For example, just as the law of gravity is also neutral. Even as it benefits humans by keeping them from floating off to a certain death in outer space, so the same law is against us should we choose to jump off a bridge, a high building or a cliff; the results are death. Again, Elohim’s Torah-law, like his law of gravity is neutral. It can be for or against us depending on whether we acknowledge, respect and then obey it or not. To ignore it is called sin and results in death, for the wages of sin (i.e., the violation of Torah; 1 John 3:4) is death (Ezek 18:4; Rom 6:23).
The following lists delineate the few aspects of the YHVH Elohim’s Torah-law that are “against” us (that is, against sinners), and them the many aspects of YHVH’s Torah-law that are for man’s blessing and benefit.
On the negative side, when we disobey the Torah…
1) The Torah has the capacity to stir up sin in an individual. This is not the fault of YHVH’s instructions in righteousness or Torah-law, but our fault because we have chosen to go against YHVH’s life-giving commandments. A healthy person thrives in an environment deadly to someone who is ill; likewise, the Torah is beneficial to a righteous person who is living by it and in loving obedience to Yeshua as guided by his Set-Apart or Holy Spirit. Other hand, the Torah is an instrument of death to those who are controlled by their sinful nature.
2) YHVH’s Torah-law acts as a guide to man’s inner spirit or conscience and produces guilt feelings and shame when we violate it, that is, when we sin. The remedy for the guilt and shame that sin brings on is once-and-for-all trust in Yeshua the Messiah’s final atonement for sin (Rom 3:21–26), followed by ongoing confession of and repentance from sins (1 John 1:9).
3) The Torah also provides a framework of justice by which Elohim, the Just Judge of the universe, will judge the actions of men to determine both their level of punishment for its violation and their level of reward for obedience to it.
4) The Torah sets out righteous standards for the sinner to follow, and it points out the fact that they have sinned and how far they have fallen short of the glory of YHVH (Rom 3:23) and hence their need for a Savior or Redeemer. The Torah actually leads us to Yeshua as Paul points out in his epistle to the Galatians (Gal 3:25).
5) The Torah delineates the curses that automatically come as a cause-and-effect judgment against a person or a group of people (e.g., a family, nation or the whole earth) when they fail to live up to its righteous standards (Deut 28:15–68; Ps 119:21) and, instead, give into the negative influences of their fallen sin nature or the influences of the world and the devil. The law of gravity, like YHVH’s Torah, does not harm us until we choose to ignore it and jump off a cliff. It is only then that we feel its negative effect. Until then, gravity keeps us grounded to the earth, so we don’t float off into space. Similarly, the Torah keeps us on YHVH’s straight and narrow path of righteousness and life so that we don’t float off into all sorts of weird notions and beliefs that cause us to sin resulting in death.
On the positive side, when we obey the Torah…
1) YHVH’s Torah shows us what the Truth is (Ps 119:142, 151).
2) The Torah defines YHVH’s standards of righteousness—what YHVH expects from his people (Ps 119:172; Deut 10:12).
3) The Torah defines what sin (1 John 3:4) and righteousness are (Ps 119:172).
4) The Torah provides a framework of grace in which one can live. YHVH’s people are to live within the framework of Torah, so that they will not come under the penalty of Torah as a consequence of violating it. YHVH’s giving of the Torah was in itself an act of grace that the Testimony of Yeshua compares with his sending of Yeshua (John 1:17 cp. Rom 10:1–13).
5) YHVH’s Torah functions as a protective border for the people of Elohim in that the Torah save us from much harm (Ps 119:146, 170). It’s like a fence around a flock of sheep that keeps predators out and from attacking the sheep as well as keeping the sheep from straying into dangerous areas outside of the safe confines of the sheep pasture. The Torah is also like the guardrail on a mountain road that protects motorists from veering to their death over a steep embankment or cliff.
6) The Torah, as written in man’s heart and in union with faith in Messiah, produces love (Rom 13:8–10; 1 John 2:3–6; 5:3), joy (Pss 19:8; 119:24, 47, 70, 77, 82; 14, 174), peace and hope (Pss 119:81, 114; 130:5–6) resulting in an abundant life. Paul declared that he “was under the law toward Messiah” or literally “in/subject to the law toward Messiah,” (2 Cor 9:21), and this is an aspect of the gospel message of salvation (vv. 22–23).
7) Obeying the Torah brings us physical blessing in this life (Deut 28:1–14; Ps 119:50) as well as eternal rewards (not eternal life, which is by grace through faith alone, see Eph 2:8) in the world to come (Matt 5:19).
8) Obeying the Torah helps deepen our loving and intimate relationship with YHVH-Yeshua and helps us to abide in Yeshua (John 14:15; 1 John 2:3–6).
9) Obeying the Torah helps us to maintain a loving and civil relationship with Elohim (Mark 12:29–30; 1 John 2:3; 5:3) our fellow man, for it shows us how to love one another as ourselves (Mark 12:31; Rom 13:8–10; 1 John 3:23).
10) Obeying the Torah helps to keeps our ways clean (Ps 119:9) by keeping us from sinning (Ps 119:133), for sin is the violation of the Torah (1 John 3:4).
11) Obeying the Torah helps us to stay spiritually pure (1 John 3:3–6).
12) Obeying the Torah protects us from the influence of the devil (1 John 3:8).
10) Obeying the Torah-Word of YHVH helps to perfect YHVH-Yeshua’s love in us (1 John 3:6).
13) Torah-obedience strengthen’s man’s spiritual immune system to protects us from the lethal spiritual disease called sin.
14) YHVH’s Torah-Word acts as the rails to keep a train on its track, or like the rudder of a ship to keep it on course, or like a compass or map to guide an explorer or traveler to his intended destination, or like the radar system on a ship or plane to help it through the fog and to keep it from smashing into the rocks or crash landing, or like a flashlight to reveal one’s path through the darkness of the night (Ps 119:105).
15) The Torah reveals to man how to know Elohim intimately (1 John 2:3), for the Torah is a reflection of the heart, mind, will and character of our Creator. It shows us how to abide in him (1 John 3:24
16) The Torah unifies both the Old and New Testaments (1 John 2:2, 7).
15) The Torah keeps YHVH’s people in the light of Truth (Pss 19:8 119:129–130; Prov 6:23; 1 John 2:9).
17) Obeying YHVH’s Torah helps to insure that our prayers are answered (1 John 3:22).
18) The Torah makes us wiser than our teachers and the ancient sages and philosophers (Ps 119:98–100).
19) Obedience to YHVH’s gives us greater wealth than any money or material possessions can give (Ps 119:14, 72, 127).
20) Torah obedience revives us spiritually (Pss 19:10; 119:40; Prov 3:13–14; 8:10–11; 16:16 cp. Matt 13:44–46).
21) Our Torah-obedience is a spiritual light to those around us, for they will see us as a wise and understanding people, and perhaps, thanks to our good example, that will draw into or least toward the kingdom of Elohim (Deut 4:6–8).
22 The Torah unifies or binds YHVH’s people together relationally (Ps 119:63).
23) YHVH’S Torah shows his servants how to outwit their enemies (PS 119:98).
24) The Torah helps us to have compassion for those who are unsaved, who do not have the light of YHVH’s Torah-Truth (Ps 119:136).
25) The Torah provides a framework or basis for YHVH’s divine justice or judgment (Deut 17:11; John 12:48; Heb 4:12 cp. Rev 1:16; 2:16; 18:15, 21).
26) The Torah forms the basis for the jurisprudence system of civil government (Deut 17:11).
27) The Torah is heaven’s revelation of divine grace. It reveals how sinful man can be reconciled to a righteous Elohim; it reveals the path of redemption or salvation from slavery to sin through the idea of substitutionary sacrifice. This all points to Yeshua the Messiah, the Redeemer or Savior of the world.
28) The Torah reveals the concept of covenant between YHVH and man involving YHVH’s chosen people—the nation of Israel. Only through covenantal relationship with the Elohim of Israel and by being grafted into the Israel of Elohim can one have eternal life (Eph 2:11–19).
29) The Torah—both the Written Torah and Yeshua the Living Torah-Word of Elohim in flesh—is our light in a dark world; the answer to life’s questions and dilemmas (Ps 119:99, 105; Prov 6:23).
31) Obeying the Torah-Word of YHVH helps to perfect YHVH-Yeshua’s love in us (1 John 3:6).
32) The Torah convicts man of sin or lawlessness and brings us to Yeshua by way of the cross (Gal 3:24).YHVH’s Torah points us to Yeshua who is our salvation (Ps 119:174; the word salvation in this verse is the Hebrew word Yeshua).
Amen, amen and amen!
Natan, why does the Torah has the capacity to stir up sin? Can you explain that? Is it because we are like children who want to do what is forbidden?
Yeshua said the the Ruach convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. When we know and understand the Torah, we see how far we have fallen short of measuring up to Elohim’s high standards of righteousness (called sin), and, at the same time, this will hopefully inspire us to strive to do better.
Amén! Also by stirring up, it shows that Elohim (God) is in control and not Satan. In short, discipline creates resistance, which creates perseverance that leads us to obedience that leads to the righteousness that’s in Christ Jesus; and of course, it further increases the intimacy between us and Him.
Romans 8:7 and Romans 5: 10-16 might help shed some light.