Friday, September 14, 2007

Conversion of the Jews

Observant Jews believe that conformity to the Law is a non-negotiable. What an observant Jew would have to understand in order to convert to Christianity is that he does not have to give up strict obedience to the law to become Christian. Indeed, he will continue to follow every jot and tittle of the Law, but it its fulfilled, spiritual mode in Christ and the Spirit.

This is one of the reasons I cannot read the New Testament alone, without the Old Testament. Somehow the NT limps and seem anemic without the OT. I always read the marginal notes citing the OT references when reading the NT. For instance, among other things, the cleansing of the Temple can be read in light of Jer. 7, where Jeremiah berates temple worshipers for their hypocrisy. That is why Jesus is not simply arrested, but is asked to produce a sign--because the Jews know he is acting in a prophetic way and they are familiar with the passage from Jeremiah. He is fulfilling the prophets. There is, of course, more to it than that--about Jesus' body as a temple.

The Reformed and Conservative Jews must realize (perhaps under the influence of the Christians) that strict external observance of the letter is not necessary to fulfill the Law. They just don't realize where the true fulfillment is. They try to do it through their natural humanity, which is why they become secular humanists.

1 comment:

Joe said...

What is the purpose of keeping the letter of the Old Testament law? Is it simply for Jews to identify with their cultural heritage or is it someone that a Jewish Christian would do for sanctification and salvation. If the latter, then what about this from Galatians 3:9-12,
"So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident; for, the just shall live by faith."

If the Jews want salvation through the law, then they must keep all of it. But the revelation given to St. Paul is that it is impossible to keep all of it. If a Jew trusts in circumsion, kosher food laws, etc. then he is not trusting in Christ. Rather, he is trusting in himself. In Christ, there is no Jew or Greek, to quote St. Paul again. Christianity is fulfilled Judaism, there is no reason for the trappings of the old covenant to be carried on.