In Matthew 22:36 Yeshua is challenged by the Pharisees; "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Torah?" And Yeshua said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind." (Deut. 6:5) This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Lev. 19:18) On these two commandments all the Torah and the Prophets hang."
Our Heavenly Father cannot love us any more than He already does. The closeness of our relationship with Him is how much we love Him and by how much we love others. Yeshua said in John 14:15 "If you love Me, keep My commandments" .So a measure of how much we love Yeshua is how much do we desire to be obedient to His Word (Logos), the Living Torah as quoted in verse 24 "He who does not love Me does not keep My Words, and the Word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me.. that needs to be written on our hearts."
The relationship between this Gospel message and Torah can be considered as four concentric circles (similar to the Torah) with Salvation by Grace at the centre, secondly the Moral law, thirdly Ritual law and fourthly Religious tradition:*
1. Yeshua, Salvation is hidden in the Torah and is revealed in the New Testament through the Living Word (Logos) given in John. Acceptance of Yeshua is the entry point into the Kingdom of God, there is no other way to be saved.
2. Moral standards are essential for a godly walk with the Lord as summed up in the Ten Commandments (10 Words) as stated by Yeshua in Matt 19:17-19 to the rich man. In Matthew 5:17-19 Yeshua emphatically states, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill(uphold) them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota(yod), not a dot(vav), will pass from the Torah until all is accomplished." (Note that the yod and vav are the two smallest letters in the Hebrew alphabet and are 'soft letters' as they may be left out of a word without changing its meaning!). "Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven." In Matthew 5 Yeshua raises the bar on six specific moral commandments to such a level that without grace and the Holy Spirit it is impossible to get over them.
3. Ritual Commandments: Within the Torah (Law) there are commandments of greater importance and those of lesser as stated by Yeshua in Matt 23:23 "... and you have left undone the weightier matters of the Law, judgment, mercy, and faith." The moral commandments are primary as they are motivated out of love, whereas the ritual commandments or 'signs' of covenant are not binding commandments in the same way as the moral commandments are (Mark 12:23). Sacrifices, festivals, food laws and circumcision are on a lower level than commandments against murder, adultery, stealing or lying. If this order is swopped about one gets religious hypocrisy as Yeshua states very strongly in the eight woes against the Pharisees in Matt 23:13-29.
4. Religious Traditions are never binding or authoritative. Yeshua questions the Pharisees and scribes in Matt 15:3, "And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition (paradosis)?. Interestingly paradosis is one of only two Greek nouns that has the gematria of 666 with europia meaning wealth/ affluence being the other.) We are not to elevate religious traditions above moral law as the Pharisees were want to do and which Rabbinic Judaism has continued. Likewise, Christianity has done exactly the same over the centuries by adding to God's Word. Where religious traditions become part of the culture as with Judaism and Christianity, we can embrace it in love to get the Gospel message through just as Paul states in 1 Cor 9:20. Culture can be Biblical true, neutral or against scriptural truth. Where culture is against the word of God we need to have discernment on how not to come under it. This is all about becoming the One New Man Paul speaks about in Ephesians 2:15 where Jewish and non-Jewish become one (Echad in Messiah) and the wall of hostility arising from man-made decrees and dogmas are removed by Yeshua.
So Torah does not justify us (Gal 3:11) but it sets the standard of righteousness. My wife recently has a range of blood test to find a reason for high blood pressure. The results of the various test are checked against a normal range. If the results are outside this range it indicates a problem with her health. The Torah is like these normal medical ranges. It just indicates where there is sin in our lives. It does not heal or save us, but if we ignore the warning we move from blessing to curse as we come under the curse of the law.
Psa 119:29 Keep me from being deceitful, and be kind enough to teach me your Torah.
Articles on Torah