Q. I have only recently became aware of a group called the Netzari. From what I have read it looks like they are trying to follow the law and live under grace at the same time. I dont see how that is possible. What do you make of this group of people?
A. The only thing I know about the Netzari is what I’ve read on their website. They describe themselves as believers in Jesus who live according to Old Testament regulations. They believe that salvation is not by faith alone, but by works.
Attempting to live a righteous life is commendable, as long as one avoids two common pitfalls. The first is to believe that your religious works are helping to earn or keep your salvation. Salvation is by grace through faith, not by works. (Ephesians 2:8-9) By adding our own works to God’s grace, we’re telling Him that His death was not sufficient and we have to make up the difference.
The second common pitfall is to believe that by your righteous lifestyle you are somehow better than others and are earning a higher place with God. Jesus addressed this sin in the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. (Luke 18:9-14)
Living a life pleasing to God is not the way we achieve salvation. It’s the way we thank God for having already received it as a free gift. It can also be a way to make sure we stay in fellowship with Him.