How many times have we heard it said that once you accept Jesus as your Savior and ask forgiveness in His name, you will be irrevocably saved from eternal damnation? A lot, right?
And, although that is absolutely true, it is not everything you need to know. As Paul Harvey would say, “And now for the rest of the story….”
Jesus is just the start. Even if you are totally repentant and accept Jesus (Yeshua is His real name), all you have at that point is to have received forgiveness for the past sins and you get a reserved spot in God’s presence for all eternity. That ticket is one that no one can take from you: there is no expiration date, no black out dates, and you won’t find a “Best To Use Before …” date on it. Salvation is guaranteed to you, so long as you maintain your repentance.
You asked for it, you got it, and now comes the hard part- you have to keep it. What no one can take from you, you can throw away.
The forgiveness you receive, as I have been talking about lately, is only for past sins- you still have the rest of your life to live, and be certain of one thing- you will sin again. Whether on purpose or by accident, it will happen, so we need to remain repentant (in Hebrew we say “Do T’shuvah”), constantly ask the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) to guide us, and constantly learn God’s word.
You have been forgiven- Hallelluya! That was easy, wasn’t it? Now you need to pick up your cross and follow Yeshua (Matthew 16:24) for the rest of your life. That means to know what He expects of you. You do that by reading the bible, from Genesis to Revelations, over and over again because it is all His word, and He wants you to obey all of it. Yes, even the “Jewish” parts. When you start to read the New Covenant writings, which is the Gospels and all the letters written to the new converts to Judaism, you will see there is nothing “new” in the New Covenant. Yeshua taught Torah; in fact, according to John 1, Yeshua is the Living Torah.
The vast majority of people accepting Yeshua as their Messiah after He was raised back to heaven were Gentiles, which is why I said the Epistles in the N.C. are written to converts to Judaism- there was no “Church”, no one was a “Christian”: in truth, that term didn’t start to be used until the early 2nd Century and later. By the time the Codex’s were collected and the Council of Nicene created what is today’s version of Christianity, the Jewishness of what Yeshua taught was all but written out of the religion those men created.
I am not saying you have to convert to Judaism to be saved- in truth, that would hinder your salvation because most Jews don’t accept Yeshua as the Messiah.
There are some 1/4 Million or more Messianic Jews, not to mention Hebraic Roots churches that we can call (for lack of a better term) the other side of the same coin.
Jews and Gentiles that are accepting Messiah are getting to the place where we are all supposed to be: one new man in Messiah (Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 2:14), with only one God, one Messiah and one set of rules for worship- the rules God gave us.
Remember- God has no religion, so what He told us we need to do in the Torah is not for Jews alone, but for everyone to do as best they can.
I am not “Judiazing” Christians, I am simply stating what God has told all of us He wants from us. In Deuteronomy 28 we are told those blessings we receive for obedience, and also the curses we receive when we reject the laws God gave us (not obeying is rejecting.) So, you see, separate from salvation, it is up to us how many blessings we receive.
Another way to look at it is this: if you ask for forgiveness and mean it, but then think you are now “covered” for life and just go back to how you used to be, then you really haven’t changed at all: that is how you throw away your salvation. In Hebrews we are told that once someone is saved, then apostatizes, we shouldn’t even try to bring them back “into the fold”. There are the parables about the servants and the talents, the fruit tree in the garden, and the wise and foolish hand maidens at the wedding. To me these all represent people who have been granted the salvation they asked for, but then threw it away by not following Yeshua and changing their lifestyle. Oh, yes- let’s not forget the parable Yeshua told about the sower of the seed, and how even though some fell on soil that took root, the soil was so poor and the worldly desires so strong that the plants did not last.
We who know the Lord and His Messiah, and want to help others come to salvation, MUST be truthful from the start. We should not use the typical “God loves you and wants to save you” line, without adding that once you are saved you need to stay that way. As my Pastor puts it, people need to “Get out of Goshen”, and so many churches do not preach that. Yes, the blood protects us, but if we stay in the house with the blood on the lentils, never leaving Goshen, we are still in slavery and nothing changes.
Abraham stepped out in faith, not knowing where he was going, but going because God said to go. When we are saved by faith in God and acceptance of Yeshua as our Messiah, forgiving our sins, we need to get moving. We need to change our attitude, and continue to change it; we need to let the Ruach Ha Kodesh lead our words and thoughts (trust me- this is hard to do because we are all so prideful, especially me); we need to read the bible and pray for the Spirit to add to our understanding.
Jesus is just the beginning, and He is there to help you make the journey, but you have to walk the walk.