We follow Paul’s example

Published by Rob Skiba October 1, 2013 at 4:38 PM

Paul preached and he remained Torah observant to the day he died. He followed the example of Yeshua (Jesus) which is why he could say with confidence:

“Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 11:1

Christ followed and obeyed His Father completely – in every way. If we are to claim to be His followers, should we not attempt to do the same – just as Paul did?

1 John 2:3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

How did Yeshua walk? He walked in 100% obedience to His Father’s perfect, life-giving Law. There is absolutely no way Paul could have “imitated Christ” without walking in the same way Yeshua walked. You will never see Yeshua walking outside of His Father’s perfect, life-giving Law… EVER. He loved His Father and showed it through obedience. He also quoted Deuteronomy more than any other book in our Bible. Deuteronomy explains what loving God means and how it relates to life and blessing.

Deuteronomy 30:11 Surely, this commandment that I am commanding you today is not too hard for you, nor is it too far away.12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will go up to heaven for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?” 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?” 14 No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe.15 See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. 16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by LOVING THE LORD YOUR GOD, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess.

The writers of the New Testament were not writing in a void. There are many examples that show us that to “love God” is to obey God. So, when Yeshua gave His two commandments, the first one, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind…” requires obedience to the 10 Commandments. Everyone understood this. And just to be sure we understood, John wrote:

1 John 5:1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

The commandments of God are found in the Torah – the first 5 books of our Bible, which were written by Moses. The Bible of the Bible was the Torah and they quoted from it often. Dr. Chuck Missler agrees:

Not surprisingly, the New Testament authors mentioned Moses more frequently than any other Old Testament person. His concluding remarks after a 120-year lifetime have been handed down to us as the Book of Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy is essentially a series of sermons by the greatest Old Testament prophet. Jesus Himself quoted more from Deuteronomy than from any other portion of the Old Testament. (In a sense, Deuteronomy is the “Book of Romans” of the Old Testament.) – Dr. Chuck Missler Virtually all of the writers of Scripture referred back to the writings of Moses, which were given to him directly from YHWH as he often spoke with the Lord “face to face as one speaks with a friend” (Exodus 33:11). Most importantly of all, the 10 Commandments that Moses wrote about were written in stone by the finger of God Himself. Should we not consider all of those words to be exceptionally wonderful and important, worthy of obeying? David did. He delighted in them, which is why he was considered a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). He understood that the Law was perfect and extremely beneficial to us.

Psalm 19:7 The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the decrees of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple;

How can something the Bible calls perfect and full of life and blessing (for those who obey it) be considered “bondage”? That makes no sense at all. Yet, that’s exactly what most Christians think Paul was saying. Therefore, I must say it appears to me that to the modern church, Paul has got to be – by far – the most misunderstood writer in all of Scripture. I used to say what my detractors say myself. In fact, as recent as 4 years ago, I had also actively taught against YHWH’s Law just like they do. Then, 3 years ago, I started reading the front of the book for myself and have done so every year since. As of this week, we are starting our 4th year of reading through the Torah, prophets and New Testament. When you see how it is ALL connected and in perfect harmony, you are forced to see Paul in the true light of what he was saying. Everything becomes crystal clear. Only a servant who is 100% in obedience to God can say with confidence, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”

To imitate Christ is to walk in total obedience to His Father just as He did. 1 John 2 teaches that if we fail, no problem, we have an Advocate. Paul’s message of Grace never contradicted any of that. And you’ll note that he did not say, “Imitate me, just as I counterfeit Christ or write a new Gospel that contradicts the rest of the entire Bible.” He was not a rogue writer of Scripture. He was a Torah scholar who figured out how it all works together – both Law and Grace. They go hand in hand.

Law without Grace is Tyranny. Grace without Law is Anarchy. You cannot have one without the other. The Law defines sin. Grace is given for when we do sin, because Jesus Christ paid the price for it, but that is not license for us to go on sinning. Even Paul says, God forbid!

Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2a God forbid.

Sin is clearly defined as lawlessness:

1 John 3:4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.

Paul calls the Antichrist, the “man of sin” – “man of lawlessness”  or the “lawless one” (depending on your English translation).

2 Thess. 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that MAN OF SIN be revealed, the son of perdition;4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (KJV)

2 Thess. 2:3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the MAN OF LAWLESSNESS is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.  (NASB)

2 Thess. 2:3 Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the LAWLESS ONE is revealed, the one destined for destruction. 4 He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God. (NRSV)

In a discussion we were having about all of this last night, my wife asked, “If the Law was supposedly done away with, why would it matter that the Antichrist is the lawless one?” That’s a great question and a valid observation! Wouldn’t we all be lawless? If there was no law, how could anyone be a “man of sin”? Without the law there is no sin. If there is no sin, what in the world do we need a Savior for???

In these Last Days, which “Christ” are you going to follow? Will you be like Paul who imitated Jesus Christ, who walked in total obedience to YHWH’s Law or will you be like those who will follow the Antichrist, who is the man of sin, the lawless one, who rebels against YHWH’s Law? As for me and my house, we will strive to be like Paul, who imitated Jesus Christ – and we will thank God every day for the Grace that covers us and the Advocate who intercedes for us when we fall. We have an amazing Heavenly Father who gave us a wonderful gift of salvation, by Grace through Faith alone in Yeshua’s finished work on the cross. Thank you Yah! He has done so much for us, should we not at least try to show our love for Him through obedience? Paul did.

– Rob Skiba

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