Thursday, August 16, 2012

Christian-Jewish Alliance: Missing the Point, Which is Jesus

We are no longer under law, but rather we are under God's grace.

Yet Christians are engaging in  teeming obsessions to introduce Jewish customs into their homes, as if these demonstrations of faith will earn more religious points with God or move Him to hear us. Families are bringing the Ten Commandments back into their homes. Churches are handing out prayer shawls. Some churches are celebrating the feast days, with honey and apples. All of these traditions and customs, are made of little effect in the presence of the substance, the Person who lives in every believer: Jesus Christ.

I remember in one Foursquare church that I had attended, the pastor put on a prayer shawl and blew a shofar to commemorate Rosh Hashanah. Assembly is not about bringing back the old forms, but rejoicing the Life and glory which we have receive through Christ Jesus, who has given us His life and His standing that we may do the good works which He has already worked in us to do (Ephesians 2: 10; Philippians 2: 12-13).

Some Christians are even breaking out the Old Testament foods, like "Ezekiel bread", as if what we eat makes us holier. Jesus refuted such man-made attempts:

"Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man." (Matthew 15: 11)

Man does not live by bread alone (Matthew 4: 4),  but by the Bread of Life (John 8: 35). The Old Testament remains in the Canon of Scripture not to provide us rules to live by, but to reveal Jesus in greater glory to us, for we are called to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord (2 Peter 3: 18).

Jesus Christ, and He alone through His death and resurrection, has accomplished for us the grace and goodness that we may come before our Father at any time:

"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. " (Hebrews 4: 14-16)

I am less enthralled and more appalled by the number of evangelical leaders in the United States who seem to trip over each other to bless and benefit Jewish people. Pastor John Hagee supports conferences and meetings with well-known Jewish leaders, as if the values which they share with the pastor are identical. Pastor James Robison also had a prominent Jewish Rabbi visit his program, in which he permitted the Rabbi to expound on his teachings and principles about wealth and wholeness in this law.

Orthodox Jews and well-established Jewish teachers are holding onto and professing an Old Covenant, one that was done away with Christ and Him Crucified:

"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
"And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

"For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

"In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away." (Hebrews 8: 10-13)

Paul even goes so far as to call the elements of the Jewish law "weak and beggarly":

"But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?" (Galatians 4: 9)

Righteous people live by faith (Habakkuk 2: 4; Romans 1: 17), this righteousness we receive through Christ (2 Corinthians 5: 21) and this faith we receive by believing in the Son of God (Romans 10: 9; Romans 10: 17; Galatians 2: 20).

I am patently offended that preachers of the gospel regard with deference and reverence the customs and traditions of Judaism, and give equal preference their religion, beyond the requisite tolerance which Paul advocated, that we may win as many as possible to Christ (1 Corinthians 9: 22)

When he was with the Jews, Paul expounded to them the Messiah. Every person in the Body of Christ, Jew or Gentile, must make the presentation of proclamation of Jesus in our lives the most important element.

The teachings and traditions of Judaism have passed away:

"Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

"Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. " (Colossians 2: 16-17)

The festivals and ceremonies all point to one Person: Jesus! (Luke 24: 26-27). In no wise, then, are believers in the Body of Christ doing Jews or people of any other religious affirmation any favors if we dispense with the theme and the glory of our lives: Jesus!

Christian-Jewish alliances may have value from a political standpoint, but the best thing that we can do as believers in the Body of Christ is to share the Gospel, the Good News that in Christ all our sins are forgiven and thus through His Spirit we receive His life and the adoption of children, that we may declare:

"Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4: 17)

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