Should Followers of Christ Observe the Torah?

“Paul says he is being persecuted because he’s not requiring obedience to the Torah. This was the source of his persecution. He calls the idea that we are under the cross rather than the Torah “the stumbling block of the cross.” Then he says that those who say we need to be circumcised should go all the way and cut it all off! Serious words, indeed.”

(Amy K. Hall – Stand To Reason) A great deal of the New Testament is devoted to the question of the Christian’s relationship to the Mosaic Law in the Torah, but if the questions I receive from people are any indication, there’s an increasing amount of confusion among Christians on this topic. (I explain my theory as to why this is happening here.)

Here is one challenge I received from an STR podcast listener who believes that followers of Christ should follow the Torah laws:

If the Scriptures show that Paul, an apostle personally trained by Jesus, was still Torah observant some 25 years after his conversion, would that cause you to rethink the traditions of church fathers (men who did not write Scripture) who say the opposite?

Jesus’ Death and Resurrection Released Us from the Law

It’s actually Paul’s words—particularly in Galatians, Romans, and Ephesians—that inform us most clearly about how the relationship between God’s followers and the Law changed after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Ephesians 2 is explicit about what the work of Christ means for our relationship to the Law:

But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups [i.e., Jews and Gentiles] into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.

In Jesus’ death, “the Law of commandments contained in ordinances” was “abolished,” making it possible for Him to reconcile both Jews and Gentiles to God as one new man, in Himself, with nothing dividing them. Romans 7:1–6explains why Jesus’ death “released [us] from the Law”: View article →