The Heart of Torah - Part 2
In part 1 of “The Heart of Torah” we discussed where our focus should be, and what happens when we lose that focus. This time, in part 2, we are going to discuss what the “The Heart of Torah” is and what it means to walk in it, or follow it.
What Is the “Heart of Torah”?
Yeshua spoke about the importance of the heart of Torah with His statements to the Pharisees regarding helping a neighbor’s donkey out of the ditch on the Sabbath in Luke 14. If you say you won’t help them because it’s the Sabbath, you’re breaking Torah because helping them is part of loving them, it’s a large part of the “heart of Torah”. Remember the 2 greatest commandments are to love god and love your neighbor, the whole of the Torah and the Prophets hung on these. They are the “heart of Torah”.
Just as in many books, the Torah can be broken into two parts, Part 1: Love God and Part 2: Love Your Neighbor. Each part of the book is then broken down further into chapters, in this case the “10 Commandments” which give an overview of how to love God and love our neighbors. Within the 10 Commandments (or chapters) are the detailed instructions on how we need to live; ultimately teachings us how “Love God” and “Love Your Neighbor”. These instructions enable to live out the heart of Torah, God’s way.
“Walking Out the Heart of Torah”
One cannot follow God’s instructions without knowing and following what they are from the greatest mass to the smallest/individual commands. It’s not that we are “afraid we will sink our boat with Him” as the pastor had said, it’s that we strive to be perfected with him, going back to the way we were intended in the beginning, before the fall. At their creation, Adam and Eve were then sinless and walked with God through Eden. After the fall, we are no longer created without sin; so now, we need to look at what it means to be sinful in order to learn how to avoid it.
Being sinful is the same as being considered lawless, one without law. Without the existence of law, there can be no sin. Breaking the law is sin, 1 John 3:4. This is true all of the way back to Adam. Adam broke God’s instruction thereby bringing sin into the world. Yeshua, the second Adam, came to save the world and is to be our example not the first Adam. Yeshua was sinless meaning he kept the law perfectly, never breaking it. In order to achieve this, He had to keep both the letter of the law and the heart (or spirit) of the law. Today, this is what we are to work towards, our goal to be as our Messiah was, sinless. Sin separates us from God; therefore we want to remove the sin from our lives. Our heart is to be for Him, our heart is to have His Torah written on it! The desire of our heart is to be Torah in its entirety. This doesn’t mean we won’t sin, but we should strive not to. Because of the love and mercy of our Creator, when we do sin, there is grace to cover us in our sin after we repent and ask forgiveness.
God gave us the instructions to follow just as we, as parents give our own kids instructions to follow. We desire for our kids to follow our instructions; indeed we want them to desire to follow the “right ways” we are teaching them. This is but an earthly model of what our spiritual Father desires! When our kids break our instructions we don’t consider their ship sunk; but they must suffer the consequences of their actions. We forgive them, sometimes we may even give mercy and grace, then we move on. God hates sin, but when we do it, we have an advocate with the Father. If you are truly seeking God, and thus His ways, the Holy Spirit will let you know and you can then do what you have to do to get in right standing with God again.
As James said, “faith without works is dead.” Having a “heart for God” does no good without action (obedience) behind it. Having a “heart for God” is having a heart for His Word, His Torah, seeking the Heart of Torah. Following the law is not our salvation, it’s the fruit (or proof) of it. As we learn to follow God in His Ways, we learn to love Him better and to love our neighbors. His Torah teaches us how to live within the Heart of Torah, not without it.
Think about this…Revelation 12 tells us those whom the adversary goes after are those who hold the testimony of Christ and follow the commandments. It takes both. It’s very easy to go one way or the other…The Pharisees went to the side of too much law by adding to God’s Word, even having their own laws supersede God’s law. In the same way much of Christian teaching about God’s law have gone the other way and removed God’s law, in some cases they have done the same as the Pharisees by adding to God’s law with such “rules” as women being prohibited from wearing pants, prohibiting dancing, requiring specific words to be recited in order to be forgiven, etc. Whether one makes up more rules that overlay God’s laws, or they indicate they no longer apply, they are not following it; they are either walking in the letter of the law, or walking without the heart of it.