If you love me, you will keep my commands; and I will ask the Father, and he will give you another comforting Counselor like me, the Spirit of Truth, to be with you forever.
(Yochanan 14:15-16, JNT)
There is so much debate amongst people within the Messianic Jewish world over observing Torah ranging from those who hold to an end of Torah to those who are on the opposite extreme of meticulous Torah observance. But we need to step back and look at what the Torah is and how it functions in our lives.
Most basic is that the Torah is not a works based system of righteousness. No one is “saved” by observing Torah and no one ever was. The Torah is the way of life of the Jewish people and is the guiding document of what it means to live out the covenant between God and Israel. The coming of Yeshua was not the end of the Jewish people’s bondage to Torah and the individual’s attempt to earn salvation by works, but it was the ratification and reaffirmation of the Torah by the one who lived out the Torah’s commands in absolute obedience to God. The coming of the Messiah was an affirmation of the redemptive hopes embodied in the Torah and it was the flowering of the redemption in the person of the one who was referred to by the early Messianic Jews as “HaTorah”, the Torah in flesh in our midst, a connection to this understanding can be seen in Yochanan 1:14, where Yochanan writes:
The Word became a human being and lived with us, and we saw his Sh’khinah, The Sh’khinah of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.
Yochanan 1:14 (JNT)
So then if not as a way to earn salvation (which has always been based in faith in God) we come to the real place of Torah as the way of walking for those in relationship to the God of Israel and the way of life for the Jewish people, as those in covenant relationship to God.
In Yochanan 14:15-16, we get another level of what Torah observance means above the main level of it being the duty of the Jewish people to order their lives according to Torah, for the followers of Yeshua it is also a way of showing love for Yeshua by observing His commands, being that Yeshua as the physical manifestation of the God of Israel is both the Messiah who came amongst us and was also the one who gave the Torah to the Jewish people. So by observing Torah we also show our love for Yeshua. As an added benefit Yeshua also promised that by obeying Torah that we would also be given the Spirit of God which will be our Comforter and will help us live Torah. So in obeying Torah we are granted the Spirit of God so that we can more earnestly live within a Torah life.
So then let us seek to live lives of Torah faithfulness and in so doing we will show love to Yeshua, our righteous Messiah and also receive the power of God’s Spirit to more fully live the Torah.