Some erroneously believe that the Torah (‘Law’) provided salvation for those who kept it. This will be examined.
The Directive: Thou Shalt Keep the Commandments
Deuteronomy 8:6,19 Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of Yehovah thy God to walk in His ways, and to fear Him. And it shall be, if thou do at all forget Yehovah thy God and walk after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish as the nations which Yehovah detroyeth before your face. So shall ye perish because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of Yehovah your God.
Two purposes are given to Israel for keeping Yehovah’s commandments:
- To walk in His ways
- To fear Him
The Israelis were temporarily permitted to dwell in, use and prosper in Yehovah’s Land as long as they walked in Yehovah’s ways. Everlasting life was not the issue, and no permanence was guaranteed.
The Everlasting Gospel
The everlasting Gospel consists of three elements that will have everlasting consequences:
Revelation 14:6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation and kindred and tongue and people, saying with a loud voice, (1) Fear God, and (2) Give glory to Him! For the hour of His judgment is come! And (3) Worship Him Who made heaven and earth and the sea and the fountains of waters!
The fear of Yehovah is essential for Salvation and is the beginning of Wisdom.
One purpose of Torah was to direct a person to the Fear of Yehovah. The Torah deals with the issues of this life (the physical land of Israel; one’s neighbour; one’s view of Yehovah). Any Israeli sensitive to the Torah who desired truth with all his being will obtain the fear of Yehovah. The same is true for anyone who approaches the Torah today with such an attitude.
The Righteous by His Faith Shall Live
The Scriptures teach, the righteous-one by his faith shall live (Habakkuk 2:4b). Contrast this with Hebrews 4:2b: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard. Hearing the Word of God is not profitable if it is not mixed with faith. Faith is the gift of God. The Torah is the word of God. One who observes the Torah without the faith of Yehovah will accomplish nothing permanent. He will not ultimately glorify or please God. All who live by the faith of Yehovah will be righteousness and will show proof of their salvation.
Can Keeping the Law save Anyone?
If anyone could, the following would also be true:
- Those saved by keeping the Torah would not need the sacrifice of Messiah. His shed blood would be useless for them.
- They would obtain salvation by their own works and power. Man would not be helpless and lost in sin, just temporarily in trouble.
- Many passages such as Romans 8:3 would be rendered false: For what the Law could not do (in that it was weak through the flesh), God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
- The means of salvation for non-Israelis during the time of Moses, Joshua, etc. would be in question. Many would not be able to come to Israel to obtain salvation by keeping the Torah. Slaves and residents in other lands where the Torah could not be performed could not obtain salvation due to a geographic problem beyond their control, unless there were two or more ways to obtain Salvation.
- The Grace of Yehovah would not be essential.
- The importance of one’s name being written in the Lamb’s Book of Life would be meaningless. Salvation would be obtainable then loseable, obtainable, loseable, etc. (There is no record of blottings or additions to the Lamb’s Book of Life.)
- One would still be able to obtain salvation through keeping the Torah today, making the Grace of God of non-effect.
The curses of the Torah are still active against Israel, and thus the Torah is still active. Yehovah still brings Israel’s enemies against Israel and Israelis for refusing to turn to Yehovah and obey His Torah (His Word).
Since He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and His plan never changes, His means of salvation has never changed.
One aim of the Law is to direct the Israelis to the fear of Yehovah. Non-Jewish folks can also learn the fear of Yehovah from His Word.