Martin M. van Brauman
For the Jew, the Torah (the first five books of the Christian Bible) is the pathway to God as Jesus is the pathway to God for Christians. Both Jesus and the Torah are the “tree of life” and bring the “Divine Presence” into one’s life.
It is a tree of life to those who grasp it, and its supporters are praiseworthy. . . . safe-guard the eternal Torah and its wise design. Proverbs 3:18.
However, the Torah is not a way of salvation to God for salvation is entirely within God’s “grace.” To call upon the name of the Lord is the key that opens up the door to heaven. By grace, we come into a relationship with God and the consequences are salvation.
Jesus was faithful to the entire Torah and lived and taught his fellow Jews to keep the commandments of the Torah. The word Torah means instructions.
. . . until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law [the Torah] until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks 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. Matthew 5:18-19.
The spiritually active Jew establishes a personal covenantal relationship with God through Torah study and prayer. Eternal life is not the reward but the consequences of this personal relationship through prayer and study of the Word of God. The relationship with God and through Jesus for the Christian is the reward. For this relationship enables one to survive the hardships and attacks of this world and to listen to God’s Word as the compass of one’s life.