If you hadn’t noticed, I was off all last week. Donna and I were on a cruise with relatives who got married on the ship. It was very nice.
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Many times we have heard our religious leaders tell us that all we need to do is call on the name of the Lord, and we will be saved. They got that from Romans 10:13; just call on God for salvation and it’s yours. What is implied is that you actually believe God exists and that you also accept that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah.
Believe in God, believe in Yeshua as the Messiah, ask for salvation and that’s that! Saved! Easy enough, right?
I am afraid I will have to bust your bubble because, as the old song goes, it ain’t necessarily so.
Do you think that King Nebuchadnezzar was saved? No? Why not? He recognized and lauded the God of Daniel. He wrote letters (this is all in the book of Daniel, of course) proclaiming the sovereignty of God and even threatened to tear down the house and kill anyone, including their entire family, who did or said anything against the God of Daniel (Daniel 3:31-33 and Daniel 4:31-34.)
Daryevesh (also called Darius), the king of the Persians, also proclaimed the God of Daniel as the living God who endures forever (Daniel 6:26-28), yet do we think that Daryevesh sits in the presence of the Lord for all eternity?
And what about every demon under the authority of the Son of Perdition, that old lion HaSatan? They certainly aren’t saved, yet not only do they believe in God and know (absolutely) that Yeshua is the Messiah, but they have actually seen them both! Are they going to be saved because they acknowledge and believe in God and Yeshua?
Of course not. Not until they: (1) genuinely repent of their evil, (2) ask forgiveness by means of Yeshua’s sacrifice, and (3) return to a righteous existence.
It’s the third step in this process which is the difference that makes a difference: believing isn’t enough, and repentance isn’t enough, we need them both AND we also need to do T’shuvah– turn from sin.
Sin is a very easy thing to define: it simply means going against the instructions God gave us all to follow, which are found in the Torah.
The things that Yeshua’s Talmudim (Disciples) say and the things that Shaul (Paul) says, and the things that are written in the Prophets and other writings that tell us what God wants us to do (or not do) are all based on what God said in the Torah. Anything you have been told that even implies any of the rules, laws, commandments, regulations, or statutes found in the Torah are no longer valid is going against what God said, which, by definition, is a sin.
Yeshua obeyed his father. He tells us this over and over…and over…throughout the Gospels. More than any other book, in the Gospel of John Yeshua constantly says that he says only what the Father tells him to say and he does only what the Father tells him to do. And, since we all know God is the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow, that means Yeshua obeyed everything that we are told to do in the Torah. And more than that, he taught us that we should do everything we are told to do in the Torah.
There is a slight problem with that, though- we can’t do everything God tells us to do. We aren’t perfect, we are infused with iniquity from birth, and we cannot live a sinless life, as Yeshua did. Does that mean we shouldn’t even try? Of course not!
If you want to be saved from the eternal punishment that being an unrepentant sinner will bring, then you must try, and try your best. I often say we can’t be sinless, but we can always sin less. That is the goal to attain- not being sinless, but simply sinning less each day.
I feel sorry for those that have been taught the lie that just calling on God, asking for forgiveness and being a “good person” is all they need to do. What is worse is that this incomplete teaching is usually followed up with another lie, which is that the Torah is just for Jews and we are saved by the Blood of Christ.
I wonder what a Priest, Minister, Pastor, or even a Rabbi would say if someone asked, “What do I need to do to be considered a good person by God?”
Would they answer by quoting Yeshua’s answer to that question, which is found in Matthew 19:17:
“Why ask me about what is good?” Yeshua replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.”
Next time you come across someone who believes that being a good person is all you need to do, please remind them of what Yeshua said, and try to get them to realize that asking isn’t enough- we must prove our repentance through actions, or what James calls good works.
I learned a long time ago that people don’t mean what they say, they mean what they do. I try to live my life saying what I mean and doing what I say, and I say I want to be less sinful. I am not doing that every day but I am always trying.
God knows our heart and mind, and even when we fail if we are constantly trying to follow his instructions that, in and of itself, is a good work.
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Until next time…L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!