By Bill Bates

Recently I was told by a certain person, who has a wealth of Biblical knowledge, that we should be perfect. He also told me that because of grace, we have the freedom to choose whether or not to keep the Torah (Law). As I analyze those contentions, the more I believe him to be right, but not necessarily in the way he perceives.


In agreement with this person, yes, I believe that we can be perfect. If you look at 1 Yohanan (John) 1:9, it says that, “If we confess our sins, He is trustworthy and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Thus, He wipes the slate clean, leaving us without imperfection. But, Dawid (David) adds another dimension to perfection:

“Blessed are the perfect in the way, who walk in the Torah of Yahweh! Blessed are those who observe His witnesses, wno seek Him with all the heart! Yea, they shall do no unrighteousness; they shall walk in His ways.” Psalm 119:1-3

Through confession of our sins, repentance (Acts 17:30 & 26:20), keeping Yahweh’s Torah, along with walking in love (Mattithyahu 5:48), we can be perfect.


On the issue of believers being endowed with the freedom to choose whether or not one is required to keep the Torah after accepting Yahshua as Master and Savior, I was quoted in part, 1 Kepha (Peter) 2:16, which tells us to live as “free” men. But exactly what freedom is that verse really talking about that would make someone a “free man”?

Is Kepha talking about the freedom of the “certain men” from Yehudah (Jude) 4 that changed “the grace of Elohim into a license for immorality…”? Does Kepha mean that we can freely live however we want, with no restraint, all under the banner of grace? Or maybe Kepha means that we are free not to be perfect, despite that we are called to be perfect, of which such perfection can only be attained by keeping the Torah as one of the pre-requisites? I think not!

Further reading of the epistles of Kepha reveals a stern warning! 2 Kepha 3:17 tells us to be on guard so that we may not be carried away by the error of “lawless men” and fall from our secure position. Kepha’s admonishment clearly reflects the fact that “lawless” men are in error, and if that is a choice we are free to make as a true Believer, it is a tenuous one.

So, what freedom is Kepha talking about? Dawid shows us when he said:

“That I might guard Your Torah continually, forever and ever; that I might walk in a broad place, for I have sought Your orders…”  Psalm 119:44-45.

Dawid plainly obeyed the Torah, loved it, and considered it a freedom – not a yoke of bondage, as today’s Christian churches teach. There is also freedom from the penalty of sin, which is death, that comes through our Savior’s grace (Romans 5:12-21 & 1 Corinthians 15:21-28).


Despite the declarations of this certain person that we are absolutely free men, us making our own choices, that freedom is only partial. We have exchanged our slavery to sin and world for the freedom of being a slave to the righteousness that comes from Yahshua the Messiah. As Sha’ul (Paul) states in Romans, our freedom comes because we “have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” And even though we do not become righteous through the Torah in itself (Phil. 3:9), it is important to note that the Torah defines what righteousness is (2 Tim. 3:16).

So then, if our freedom comes from being set free from sin and its penalty, leaving us actually slaves to Yahweh (Rom 6:22), how then can we claim to still be in Him, and choose not to obey the Torah, when willful dis-obedience to the Torah leads back to sin and unrighteous-ness, making us again a slave to what Yahshua’s grace made us free from in the first place? Simply put, “those who are in the flesh are unable to please Elohim, Rom. 8:8. That leaves us in a quandary! How can someone be “perfect” as we discussed earlier, and choose not to keep the Torah, when to not live the Torah is to live a life contrary to what pleases Yahweh? It seems to me that freedom is not absolute, and is contingent on a person actually walking in it as allowed for by Yahweh – not “Your-Way.”


Dawid, a man after Yahweh’s own heart, said, “I hate double-minded men, but I love Your Torah,” Psa. 119:113. With that in mind, personally, I do not believe that we can have it both ways; choosing to live with our without the Torah, at our own whim. Honestly, where do you think Dawid would stand on this issue?

I can, though, tell you where Shelomo (Solomon), Dawid’s son, stood on this issue. From wisdom that was supplied by Yahweh, Shelomoh relates to us where we should be keeping our focus. In Ecclesiastes 12:13, Shelomoh tells us:

Let us hear the conclusion of the entire matter: Fear Elohim and guard His commands, for this applies to all mankind!”

This verse does not have a lot of “gray area” for debate, and puts into perspective how we should have our lives ordered. This verse also echoes what Yahweh all throughout the Scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation, Fear/Love Yahweh and Guard/Keep/Obey His Torah.

I even ask you this, “why would the prophet Shemu’el (Samuel) say this: “To obey is better than an offering, to heed is better than the fat of rams” (1 Sam. 15:22), if obedience were not important? Ask yourself, standing before the One whose death and grace provided you with your salvation, would you rather be able to hold your head high when He tells you “good job,” or will it be more appropriate for you to hang your head low if all He can tell you is “You are forgiven”? Worse yet, if He tells you “I never knew you,”? (Mat. 7:21-23) Even Yohanan, the disciple Yahshua loved, tells us:

“And by this we know that we know Him, if we guard His commands. The one who says ‘I know him’ and does not guard His commands, is a liar, and the Truth is not in him. But whoever guards His word, truly the love of Elohim has been perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. The one who says he stays in Him ought himself also to walk, even as He walked.” 1 Yohanan 2:3-6.

Those are strong words, but can you really claim to know Him if you do not guard His commands? Also consider, it is easy to say that Yahshua walked in love, but there were other aspects in His life that also needs to be considered. If living in Him truly means walking as He did, Yohanan 15:10 clearly shows that Yahshua in obedience to Yahweh’s commands. By extension, should we not do the same if we claim to live in Him? There should be no doubt. That is exactly what the Scriptures prescribe for us to do.

Still, the question remains – can we continue to believe that we can have it both ways, living in either obedience or disobedience to the Torah of Yahweh, with the choice being a personal preference? I believe that Sha’ul shed the proper light on this question in Romans 2:5-8:

“But according to your hardness and your unrepentant heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of Elohim, who ‘shall render to each one according to his works’: everlasting life to those who by persistence in good works seek for esteem, and respect, and incorruptibility; but wrath and displeasure to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but deny unrighteousness;”

Sounds pretty rough, doesn’t it? But, one might say, “what has all that got to do with the freedom to choose whether or not we keep the Torah?” In answer, Sha’ul goes on to say in Romans 2:13, “For not the hearers of the Torah are righteous in the sight of Yahweh, but the doers of the Torah shall be declared right.” That doesn’t leave much “wiggle room,” does it?

It brings to mind the examples of disobedience as shown in the Old Testament, starting with Adam and Hawwah (Eve). They had choices, too. Disobedience to Yahweh’s command is what got them put out of the Garden of Eden, and consequently started us down this road of sin. And why was Yahweh so hard on the sons of Yisra’el (Israel)? They also made the wrong choices in whether or not they would keep Yahweh’s Torah, with its commands and statutes, which was referred to by the writer of Hebrews in chapter 3, verses 7-8 and 15; and verse 18 again tells us of Yahweh’s position on obedience vs. disobedience:

“And to whom did He swear that they would not enter into His rest, but to those who did not obey?”

Do you think that since they were also under grace and favor of Yahweh, that maybe they thought they could choose to live in a manner that they themselves determined?


In accordance with the Scriptures I have shared with you, even though there may seem to be only one real choice that leads to “freedom,” that certain person is still right in the matter – there are indeed  two choices. Those two very real choices are: Do we love Yahweh enough to keep/guard His commands, or do we not?

His word tells us that to love Him is to walk in His commands, 2 Yohanan 6, and 1 Yohanan 2:3-6 & 3:24. Interestingly enough, 1 Corinthians 7:19 says “..but the guarding of the commands of Yahweh does matter!” That leaves me to believe to one who claims to be in Him, there is only one right choice.

Even then, please do not misunderstand - no law, including Yahweh’s Torah, can forgive sin. Only Yahshua the Savior did that. Yes, man’s law can be bondage, but Yahweh’s Torah, as shown in the Scriptures and proclaimed by David, is a guide for the redeemed, but not the instrument of redemption.

Those who trust in the Torah alone for their salvation fall from favor (Galatians 5:4) because they have not understood the favor that comes from the Good News. The Good News is that Yahshua is the Door to eternal life apart from the works of the Law, or Torah keeping, which was and always will be the path to the Messiah as it shows the need for His redemption from the sins that the Torah identifies, and is a guide to His already redeemed people.

I agree, we are saved by grace through faith, but as so deftly said in Romans 3:31, “Do we then nullify the Torah through unbelief? Let it not be! On the contrary, we establish the Torah.”  When will “religion” get this right? Faith in Yahshua brings us back home to Him, and establishes Torah. That is freedom, which actually makes me a “free man.” I believe that Ya’aqob (James) said it best:

“But he that looked into the perfect Torah, that of freedom, and continues in it, not becoming a forgetful hearer, but a doer of works, this one shall be blessed in his doing of the Torah.” (Ya’aqob 1:25)

What perfect Torah is Ya’aqob speaking of? Is it the Torah that Mosheh (Moses) carried down from Mt. Sinai? Or is it the Torah/Law that has been “done away with” or “nailed to the cross” that churches of today so readily teach? You see, that certain person was right! There are two choices, and you do have the right to choose. In closing, I submit to you, the Torah was given to us by Yahweh in the Old Covenant era; it was “in force” then; it is still “in force” today, in the New/Renewed Testament era. And in the era after the second coming of the Messiah, it will continue to be “in force.” I pray that you will make the right choice. ~