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Thread: Christian/Jewish difference?

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    Christian/Jewish difference?

    I've been looking at the difference in how Jews view religious works and how Christians view religious works. Christians view the need to "abide in the vine" with respect to doing good. The departure from Judaism in ancient history required "pagan Gentiles," who converted to Christ, to recognize the insufficiency of religious works among the Jews and the need to abide in Christ. So Christians began to distinguish between "Jewish works" and "Christian works."

    But Jews for many years had recognized that simply by virtue of their obedience to God's Law they were in fact abiding in God! They did not develop a theology of "abiding in God" simply because they were already doing that. Beyond that, little distinction was made, formally, between those who obeyed the Law from the heart from those who obeyed the Law perfunctorily. Israel was a mixed crowd, and the genuine Jew was proven simply by genuine adherence to God's Law.

    Unfortunately, this has caused some confusion in Christian theology regarding Free Will, which reached its apex in Lutheran Predestination Theology. Religious works, it was thought, must come solely from God, with our obedience simply a matter of divine foreknowledge and human passivity.

    This was extreme, in my opinion. I do agree with the Jewish idea that we exercise true Free Will when we choose to live by the Law of God. It's only that in the case of Christianity, we are following today the *Law of Christ,* and not the *Law of Moses.* That is, we are focusing our Free Will on the distinctiveness of Christ, as opposed to the distinctiveness of the Law of Moses, which we believe God is no longer honoring.

    Thus, Jews, in continuing to obey the Law (among the Orthodox), are no longer abiding in God when they follow the Law of Moses, except at a much lower level. It is as if they are obeying God's concept of human morality without obeying His prophetic word.

    But I do think we have to acknowledge that human will--even non-Christian human will--can attain to a certain level of righteousness. And for us Christians is must be more than passivity in the simple faith that Christ will do it for us. We must actively choose to obey not just Christ's general mandates of morality, but we must also obey his revealed, prophetic will on a daily basis. This is called "walking with God." Any comments?

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    Re: Christian/Jewish difference?

    I am having a prophetic vision of the future:

    This too shall end up in contro eventually.
    "For a small moment have I forsaken you, and with great mercy will I gather you.With a little wrath did I hide My countenance for a moment from you, and with everlasting kindness will I have compassion on you," said your Redeemer, the Lord."..."For the mountains shall depart and the hills totter, but My kindness shall not depart from you, neither shall the covenant of My peace totter," says the Lord, Who has compassion on you.

    Isaiah 54

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    Re: Christian/Jewish difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
    I am having a prophetic vision of the future:

    This too shall end up in contro eventually.
    ^^^ This I call... prophesying in the flesh
    Slug1--out

    ~Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,~

    ~Honestly, the pain of persecution lets you KNOW you are still alive... IN Christ!~

    ~Colossians 1:28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.~


    ~"In the turmoil of any chaos, all it takes is that whisper that is heard like thunder over all the noise and the chaos seems to go away, focus returns and we are comforted in knowing that God has listened to our cry for help."~


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    Re: Christian/Jewish difference?

    I don't agree with the OP.
    Those who seek God with all their heart will find Him and be given sight. Those who seek their own agenda will remain blind.

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    Re: Christian/Jewish difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by randyk View Post
    I've been looking at the difference in how Jews view religious works and how Christians view religious works. Christians view the need to "abide in the vine" with respect to doing good. The departure from Judaism in ancient history required "pagan Gentiles," who converted to Christ, to recognize the insufficiency of religious works among the Jews and the need to abide in Christ. So Christians began to distinguish between "Jewish works" and "Christian works."

    But Jews for many years had recognized that simply by virtue of their obedience to God's Law they were in fact abiding in God! They did not develop a theology of "abiding in God" simply because they were already doing that. Beyond that, little distinction was made, formally, between those who obeyed the Law from the heart from those who obeyed the Law perfunctorily. Israel was a mixed crowd, and the genuine Jew was proven simply by genuine adherence to God's Law.

    Unfortunately, this has caused some confusion in Christian theology regarding Free Will, which reached its apex in Lutheran Predestination Theology. Religious works, it was thought, must come solely from God, with our obedience simply a matter of divine foreknowledge and human passivity.

    This was extreme, in my opinion. I do agree with the Jewish idea that we exercise true Free Will when we choose to live by the Law of God. It's only that in the case of Christianity, we are following today the *Law of Christ,* and not the *Law of Moses.* That is, we are focusing our Free Will on the distinctiveness of Christ, as opposed to the distinctiveness of the Law of Moses, which we believe God is no longer honoring.

    Thus, Jews, in continuing to obey the Law (among the Orthodox), are no longer abiding in God when they follow the Law of Moses, except at a much lower level. It is as if they are obeying God's concept of human morality without obeying His prophetic word.

    But I do think we have to acknowledge that human will--even non-Christian human will--can attain to a certain level of righteousness. And for us Christians is must be more than passivity in the simple faith that Christ will do it for us. We must actively choose to obey not just Christ's general mandates of morality, but we must also obey his revealed, prophetic will on a daily basis. This is called "walking with God." Any comments?
    The Christian view is that Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of our works. Indeed God's gift of free-will is interpreted differently by every faith. The Pious Jew knows to trust and lean on God for his *works* as evidenced throughout the scriptures, from Moses to Daniel, etc. But since the dispensation of grace, works have taken a back seat as a pathway to righteousness. The reality is that by believing in Christ, we are (Jew and Gentile) also obeying the law.

    However, in Christian theology, work is not limited to "passivity and faith that Christ will do it for us". While the Christian knows that salvation is freely given, I personally see works as our own efforts and commitments in building the church of God. Jesus said in Rev 22:12 "that he's coming quickly with his rewards to give every man according to his work.

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    Re: Christian/Jewish difference?

    I do believe that the OP falls far short of the meaning of John 15.

    It is one thing for our Lord Jesus to have "Disciples" who enter the "disciplines" of Jesus. It is another thing for men and women to follow Jesus in His requests. But a TREE is something totally different. A Tree has a seed. It grows a stem and from the stem branches are "GENERATED". It is altogether an ORGANIC UNION. The Stem is NOT abstract or different to the branches. They are in a LIFE-UNION, and the thing that finally GENERATES the fruit is the LIFE-SAP, the LIFE-JUICES flowing from the Stem into the branches. Thus the ABIDING is not obedience to requests or Laws. It is the remaining attached to the stem for a LIFE-FLOW. Any injury, cut or severing in a branch will stop the flow of life-juices and thus the "generation" of fruit is stopped.

    This analogy is fitting only for the Book of John. It is in this gospel that the process intended in Eden is re-implemented. God's original plan for man was that eat of a TREE. And the seed inside the fruit would become organically one with the eater. That is, the eater would become PARTAKER OF THE DIVINE NATURE and his/her actions would be a natural result of the LIFE in that person. A dog barks because it has a "dog-nature". Humans can also simulate a bark, but (1) they need effort because it is against their nature, and (2) it remains a simulation. For a dog to stop barking it would take a change of NATURE. And this is the essential picture of the True Vine. Men and women abiding IN Christ are "earthen vessels" for the DIVINE NATURE in the Man Christ to be MANIFESTED in all who stay organically connected.

    The fruit is not works of obedience. It is the behavior that is a natural result of the intrinsic nature of the Vine. Obedience might be part of it, but when our Lord Jesus kept silent as He was accused, and silent as He was beaten, it was not a work - because He did nothing. It is the behavioral result of God's nature in Him to be a Lamb (Isa.53:7).

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    Re: Christian/Jewish difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by keck553 View Post
    I don't agree with the OP.
    That's okay. It was difficult for me to even put into words. Luther's Predestination is hard enough to fathom! I'm more of a free will guy, though I'm also predestinarian.

    How can one put together free will and predestination? I'm leaving that argument aside.

    For now, I'm just saying that we have free will, and must conform to the Law of Christ, just as Israel, in the OT, conformed to the Law of Moses. Both acquire merit, by virtue of free obedience to God's Law. Where do you disagree?

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    Re: Christian/Jewish difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trivalee View Post
    The Christian view is that Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of our works. Indeed God's gift of free-will is interpreted differently by every faith. The Pious Jew knows to trust and lean on God for his *works* as evidenced throughout the scriptures, from Moses to Daniel, etc. But since the dispensation of grace, works have taken a back seat as a pathway to righteousness. The reality is that by believing in Christ, we are (Jew and Gentile) also obeying the law.

    However, in Christian theology, work is not limited to "passivity and faith that Christ will do it for us". While the Christian knows that salvation is freely given, I personally see works as our own efforts and commitments in building the church of God. Jesus said in Rev 22:12 "that he's coming quickly with his rewards to give every man according to his work.
    We would agree on that. The only relevant points here, after determining this, is that OT Jew and NT Christian are both on solid ground with respect to *works.* Both are equally a work of faith. Both obtain the merit of righteousness.

    The major difference between OT works and NT works are, of course, the difference between obtaining eternal life or not. OT works did not yet achieve eternal life, although it would accrue to that following the death of Christ. In other words, OT works of faith were allowed to merit eternal life once Christ had actually died for all human sin.

    When we look at Jewish works today, we would have to distinguish between works that qualify as "faith" and works that do not. Any works that are done unto God, consciously or unconsciously, are a form of "faith," in my opinion.

    But if these "good works" are not done consciously as unto Christ the works of faith are limited to a general morality, and cannot achieve a form of obedience to God's word through Christ.

    The spirituality that Christ promised, then, would not be made available, along with the *assurance* of eternal life, as well as our mandate to carry the gospel message on earth. Achievement of merit would thus be at a much lower level than what God wished to supply in Christ.

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    Re: Christian/Jewish difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by Walls View Post
    I do believe that the OP falls far short of the meaning of John 15.

    It is one thing for our Lord Jesus to have "Disciples" who enter the "disciplines" of Jesus. It is another thing for men and women to follow Jesus in His requests. But a TREE is something totally different. A Tree has a seed. It grows a stem and from the stem branches are "GENERATED". It is altogether an ORGANIC UNION. The Stem is NOT abstract or different to the branches. They are in a LIFE-UNION, and the thing that finally GENERATES the fruit is the LIFE-SAP, the LIFE-JUICES flowing from the Stem into the branches. Thus the ABIDING is not obedience to requests or Laws. It is the remaining attached to the stem for a LIFE-FLOW. Any injury, cut or severing in a branch will stop the flow of life-juices and thus the "generation" of fruit is stopped.
    The problem with this is, you are assuming that the "life-juices" of the Holy Spirit are not "moving over all the waters" on earth! Is God the God of the Jews only? Or, is He God of the Gentiles, as well? He is God of both!

    And I would argue that God's Law has gone out across the world. The heavens declare the glory of God, and all the earth declares God's manifest works. The laws of God are written upon the consciences of all men, believer or not. And so we all, consciously or unconsciously, choose to follow or choose to ignore the laws of God. And the *life-juices* are in this word, stamped upon the human conscience.

    What Jesus wanted was for his followers to remain true to him. But this did not mean that unbelievers could not remain true to him as well, in an unconscious sense. In our ignorance we can and should follow the dictates of our conscience!

    The Christian can more specifically follow Christ, however, because we see him as more than a general morality--more than just the general call of our conscience. We see Jesus as Messiah, who gave us instructions to carry his message across the earth. And having received his Spirit, we are able to conform to his image, and declare his truth on earth.

    Unbelievers can conform to the image of Christ the Son, to a minor degree. Unless they come to know him specifically, they will not open the door to all he has to offer. He is more than just a Law--he is the source of assurance for eternal life. And he provides the Spirit by which we may follow God's ways more completely, hearing Him prophetically.

    Quote Originally Posted by Walls
    This analogy is fitting only for the Book of John. It is in this gospel that the process intended in Eden is re-implemented. God's original plan for man was that eat of a TREE. And the seed inside the fruit would become organically one with the eater. That is, the eater would become PARTAKER OF THE DIVINE NATURE and his/her actions would be a natural result of the LIFE in that person. A dog barks because it has a "dog-nature". Humans can also simulate a bark, but (1) they need effort because it is against their nature, and (2) it remains a simulation. For a dog to stop barking it would take a change of NATURE. And this is the essential picture of the True Vine. Men and women abiding IN Christ are "earthen vessels" for the DIVINE NATURE in the Man Christ to be MANIFESTED in all who stay organically connected.

    The fruit is not works of obedience. It is the behavior that is a natural result of the intrinsic nature of the Vine. Obedience might be part of it, but when our Lord Jesus kept silent as He was accused, and silent as He was beaten, it was not a work - because He did nothing. It is the behavioral result of God's nature in Him to be a Lamb (Isa.53:7).
    If you insist that unbelievers throughout history have failed to bear "fruit" in some respect, what does that mean in terms of their eternal destiny? Are all these billions destined to go to Hell, simply because they were not given a fuller knowledge of the truth?

    Apollos didn't know the full truth initially, even as a Christian. Christians were happy to tell him the way of God more fully. But what about all those who didn't have access to Christians? Are they all destined for Hell? I don't think so. God judges men by their conscience. That came with our creation. God just wants us to know more, to know Him better, and to be able to obey Him more specifically. Then we can be *assured* that we have eternal life!

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    Re: Christian/Jewish difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by randyk View Post

    For now, I'm just saying that we have free will, and must conform to the Law of Christ, just as Israel, in the OT, conformed to the Law of Moses. Both acquire merit, by virtue of free obedience to God's Law. Where do you disagree?
    I agree with this....
    Those who seek God with all their heart will find Him and be given sight. Those who seek their own agenda will remain blind.

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    Re: Christian/Jewish difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by randyk View Post
    The problem with this is, you are assuming that the "life-juices" of the Holy Spirit are not "moving over all the waters" on earth! Is God the God of the Jews only? Or, is He God of the Gentiles, as well? He is God of both!
    "Assuming"? I think not. The analogy is that of a Tree. It is exclusive to itself and supplies NOTHING to the outside world. Does the Vine supply rain? Does it supply sunshine, or, as you will, does it supply life-juices over the puddle next to it, never mind "over all the waters of the earth"? No! It is a closed organism. Its seed produces just the stem and the life-sap remains inside and feeds the stem only. The stem generates branches, and the life-sap is CONTAINED. It is not even seen by the outside world. And the invisible and "locked-in" life-juices course invisibly INSIDE the branches and produce fruit. And only then is the working of the life-sap shown - but not as life-sap, but fruit.

    In the Bible, a Tree in parable is a king and his kingdom (Judges 9, Daniel 4, Ezekiel 31 etc.). And each one is unique. The Gentile kingdoms are large leafy trees with no fruit. The Kingdom of God is an Olive Tree (Romans 11). It has "... fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, ... ." (Judg.9:9). Thus, the Kingdom of God's fruit produces "fatness" for satisfaction and nourishment, and brings honor to both God and man. The life-sap of this Tree is never seen. It is contain within and exclusive to the inward part of the Tree. But its result - the fruit, is glorious for both God and man. The Vine is the Church. It is exclusive to those who proceed from the Stem, which is Christ. Its King - Jesus, ONLY produces Christians - the branches, and its Fruit is EXCLUSIVE to the Tree and its Life - "... wine, which cheereth God and man, ... ." (Judg.9:13).

    Israel is first a Vine - but bore NO FRUIT. It did not have the intrinsic Life-Sap of God. It had the very thing you promote - Law! And what is the result? NO FRUIT but death (1st Cor.15:56)! Then Judah is a Fig Tree. It has leaves - works of the Law. Does it bring forth fruit? Well, it was not the season ("for the time of figs was not yet" -Mark 11:13). The Law given to men on stone tablets produces a curse - not fruit. The time will come when the Laws written on the Israelite's heart will bring fruit - the Millennium under the New Covenant. But even then, note (1) it is ONLY Israel, and (2) the fruit is "sweet" and "good" (Judg.9:11), but there is no mention of God being "honored" or "cheered".

    The very thing you propose - God's Law, settling like a mist over all the earth - only brings curse to the adherent, and when written into the hearts of men, even when they have a new heart and new spirit like restored Israel, produces a fruit that neither "cheereth" nor "honors" God.

    Only Christ, the "Holy" Root of the Olive (Rom.11:16), brings forth fruit to "honor" God. And only Christ, True Vine, through the branches which are Christians, brings fort fruit that "cheereth" God. The fruit if the Christian is first for God to "intoxicate" Him. God is only "intoxicated" by the results of Christ's LIFE-JUICES in His disciples. It is not meant for the world. It is exclusive to God the Father (2nd Tim.2:6; Jas.5.7). And if the Christian fails to bring forth this fruit by not ABIDING in Christ, he/she is SEVERED during the Millennium. "His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, ... Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents ... And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matt.25:26-30).

    The Vine of John 15 depicts that "closed" society - the "little flock" (Lk.12:32). It is an EXCLUSIVE TREE made of the humanity of Jesus (wood), filled with the LIFE of Christ (divinity), which produces branches as a natural result. And these branches, the individual Christians, who are "IN Christ", is to remain intimately connected to Jesus to promote the flow of Christ's LIFE. The end is FRUIT which "cheereth" God. Consider the text of John 15:1-8
    • Christ is the Vine and God is the Farmer
    • A farmer does not grow a vine for fun. He seeks fruit in a deadly serious way. He cuts and burns unfruitfulness
    • The Branches are those who are "clean"
    • The Branches are those Christ was speaking to - the disciples
    • The Branches are those "generated" by Christ
    • The Branches are intimately attached to, and ONE with Christ
    • The Branches that abide IN Christ bear fruit. They are "pruned" (by suffering) to bear more fruit
    • The Branches that do NOT abide IN Christ (1) wither, (2) bear no fruit, (3) are cut off, (4) gathered by men, and (5) "burned"
    • The fruit GLORIFIES God. By implication the "fruitless" branches DISHONOR god
    • The fruit is what decides if a man is a disciple or not. A "Disciple" is one who enters the "discipline" imposed upon another
    • The fruit decides if one is the object of God's love
    • The fruit decides if one's prayers are answered

    All of the above could not happen if, (1) The LIFE-SAP is replaced by Law, and (2) if the recipients where NOT ONE WITH CHRIST. Neither Israel, nor the nations are "generated" by Christ. Neither Israel nor the nations have the LIFE of Christ, seeing that this LIFE is only available via FAITH IN JESUS (Jn.20:30-31). And even among those who are "joined" to Christ by "generation" are at risk of being cut off and burned.

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