The Hebrew word “shamar” is translated as “keep” as in “keep HIS commandments.” We are told that no one can “keep” the Torah so we shouldn’t try. But keep doesn’t mean flawless performance. It has the idea of celebrating, protecting and wanting to obey. Disregarding Yahweh’s Torah would not be keeping Torah. Grace changes our heart so that we “shamar” Torah.
Shamar is the opposite of lawlessness. In Matthew Chapter 7 Yeshua warns that those who practice lawlessness will not enter the kingdom. The Greek word for lawlessness is “anomia” which means “without law.” These are people who say they don’t need Torah and therefore will not “shamar” or protect, celebrate, and strive to obey it.
Shamar – keep, does not mean flawless performance. It means that we love Elohim, love HIS Torah, and we want to obey Torah – the Living Torah, Yehsua Messiah. There is no disconnect between the Living Torah and the Written Torah. Yeshua spoke it to Moses initially and HE is not a chameleon that changes HIS doctrine.
We must study Torah to know what HE says and then we must take every thought captive to the obedience of Torah. That which is given to us as HIS Torah – Instruction we guard, celebrate, and strive to keep, by grace through faith (believing and doing what HE said). That which is not in line with what HE has given we are to put off and no longer practice. It is lawlessness and Yeshua says we are not to practice lawlessness or else we will not enter HIS kingdom.
This is what Paul means by putting off the old man (lawless man) and putting on Messiah (the LIVING TORAH). We put off lawlessness, unrighteousness and put on the righteousness of Messiah. As we make the choice to do this it is by HIS work of grace that we obey. We believe HIS Torah – Instruction, we step out in that belief (this is faith) and because we have this faith we now have access to HIS grace. HIS grace (Greek word “charis”) is the work of HIS Spirit in the giving of the New Covenant. This work of grace changes our heart from stone to flesh that HE might write HIS Torah on our hearts, put HIS Torah in our minds, and cause us to walk in HIS statutes and keep “shamar” HIS commandments.
Where is the burden in this Scriptural concept of “keeping” Torah? There is not burden. Just as Paul and David said – Torah is a delight. It is an easy yoke. By Torah we know what is good for doctrine, reproof, correction, and that we might be complete for every good work. Torah is able to make one wise unto salvation. Moses tells us, under the inspiration of Yeshua, that we are blessed by keeping HIS Torah and, in keeping with Messiah’s statement in Matthew 7, there is a curse upon those who do not keep Torah.
When we try to obey Torah we will fail. We will sin – miss the mark. But we must be aiming at the mark in order to miss it. That is keeping Torah. But if we are aiming at a mark other than Torah we will never hit it and we won’t have grace given that we can hit it. Grace causes us to aim at the mark – Torah. And when we miss it (sin) and we will (he who says he has no sin is a liar) we have an advocate with the Father, Yeshua Messiah. Because HIS mercy (Exodus 20) is reserved for those who love HIM and “keep” His commandments, we receive HIS mercy upon repentance. Repentance is recognizing when we miss the mark (sin) and determine to strive to hit the mark – Torah. It is HIS blood that cleanses us and restores us to fellowship with HIM.
Again, this mercy is reserved for those who love HIM and keep HIS commandments. We must ask ourselves if we love HIM. If we say we do, we can know that we do if we keep HIS commandments. If we love Torah and continue to seek more grace to obey Torah, and believe that HE supplies that grace, then we will strive to obey Torah.
Blessings to you as you consider this Biblical approach to “keeping” Torah.