I’ll bet you are thinking, “Now, what kind of a stupid question is that? How can the Messiah, the son of God, the servant of God, the savior of the world, possibly reject God?”
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Frankly, I don’t see how that is possible, but, then again, Christianity has been teaching that for millennia.
“What do you mean, Steve? When did Christianity teach that the Messiah rejected God?”
When it told people that the Torah is no longer valid or necessary for salvation.
“But, wait a minute…isn’t legalism wrong? Isn’t it true that we are saved by faith? “
Yes, we are saved by faith, but only the right kind of faith.
Faith is, in its basic form, the result of a choice we each make to believe in something. When it comes to Yeshua (Jesus) and God, Christianity pretty much says believe that God exists and that Jesus is the Messiah and you can be saved. But that isn’t the kind of faith that will save you, because, even as we are told in the Bible, Satan and every demon in hell believes that God exists and that Jesus is his Messiah. Not only are they not saved, but they have already been thrown out of heaven and doomed to eternal damnation.
So what good is their faithful belief in God and Yeshua?
And as for Torah observance, that isn’t going to do you any good, either, not if you depend on performance being able to save you. No one can be in total accordance with the Torah, ever. That is why we need a Messiah, DUH!
And if you say you have faithful obedience to the Torah, if your faith is not heartfelt and internal, such as with David, then your obedience will also be useless. Saul sacrificed to God but for the wrong reasons and it cost him his kingship, and through the Prophets, God told us, more than once, that he doesn’t care about our going through the motions- he wants us to be obedient because we want to be obedient to demonstrate our love and respect for him.
So how does this come together to be the right kind of faith?
First, we must understand that belief in God and Yeshua as the Messiah is not the guarantee of salvation, it is just the beginning of being saved.
Second, we have to understand the difference between legalism and Torah observance: legalism is the belief in performance-based salvation, meaning that salvation comes only through the performance of everything that is written in the Torah. Torah observance can be faith-based salvation when that observance is the result of wanting to obey the Torah as the means of showing God we respect and trust him, and because when you love someone you want to do what pleases them.
So, we know legalism is useless, faith has to be more than accepting the existence of God and Messiah, and that Torah observance is not wrong so long as it is based on wanting to please God.
And now, we learn from James the final part of this lesson about correct faith (James 2:14-17):
What good is it, my brothers, if someone claims to have faith but has no actions to prove it? Is such “faith” able to save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food, and someone says to him, “Shalom! Keep warm and eat hearty!” without giving him what he needs, what good does it do? Thus, faith by itself, unaccompanied by actions, is dead.
The “actions” James talks about are what we call mitzvot, which means both “laws” and “good deeds”, and what deeds are better than those that God tells us to perform, which (by the way) are also laws?
So, let’s make certain we are all on the same page: legalism is performance-based salvation and useless while faith-based salvation (which is how we are saved) must be more than just accepting the truth that God is God and Yeshua is the Messiah. And, the way we demonstrate this proper faith is through doing good works, which is the same as obeying what is in the Torah.
Yeshua the Messiah clearly did many good works, and he also told us that he only does and says what his father in heaven tells him to do and say, meaning that he obeyed everything in the Torah.
So, back to the original question: does the real Messiah reject God?
Of course not, and this is how we know Yeshua is the real Messiah, or better yet, how we can know who is NOT the real Messiah.
Now, here comes the kicker, Folks: the “Jesus” that Christianity presents as the Messiah, the one who says love is all you need and who teaches that the Torah is no longer necessary, is NOT THE REAL MESSIAH!
I know that because when you teach to reject the Torah, you are teaching to reject God. And this wrongful teaching, which has been taught throughout the millennia, telling people that ANY Torah observance is legalism and thereby useless to them, is how this false Messiah has gotten people to sin while thinking they are actually being saved.
The Torah has the only direct-from-God instructions on how to worship him and treat each other, and he tells us that is all we need to know. It defines sin and tells us the rewards we receive for obedience and the consequences of disobedience (Deuteronomy 28).
Yeshua lived in perfect accordance with the Torah because he was the only one who could, and because of his perfect obedience he was able to receive salvation, and as such, become the sin sacrifice for everyone. His Torah observance was not from trying to earn salvation, but from being trustfully and lovingly obedient to his father.
That is the type of Torah observance I try to maintain, and constantly fail to do. Thank God for Yeshua! Without him, none of us would have any chance of being saved from ourselves. Being obedient to God is what God requires of us: not just for salvation but also to receive blessings, which we CAN earn!
Here is all you need to know to be saved: salvation must be based on faith, and that faith must be the correct kind of faith, the one that results in wanting to do good works, which is (here we are again!) those things that God tells us to do in the Torah.
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That’s it for this week- I have new sliding glass doors being installed all day tomorrow so I will be skipping my usual Friday Torah parashah message.
Until next week, then…l’hitraot, Baruch HaShem and an early Shabbat Shalom!
Oy Vey!! I almost forgot to say Chag Sameach because tomorrow is Purim! I am taking my first try at making hamantashen today, so wish me luck!