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Could "Believing" in Jesus
PREVENT you from being "saved"?
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If you shall confess with your mouth the
Lord Jesus, and shall
believe in your heart that
God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.
Most Christians would read this passage as saying: you must believe
that Jesus is God in order to be saved, and yet when asked what one
needs to do, to have eternal life what did he say?
One came and said to him,
Master, what good
thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said to him,
Why do you call me
good? [there is] none
good but one, [that is],
God: but if you will enter into life, keep the commandments.
Jesus does not put the focus on himself. There is no need to
believe that Jesus is God or even Messiah. Rather, Jesus says
simply to keep the commandments, stressing also, that there was only
one that was good; and it was not him. Only God is good.
It is ironic that the one thing that many Christians believe will
save them is the one thing that is PREVENTING them from being saved;
believing that Jesus is God. Why would that be?
In the verse that we just read, Jesus says that the way to eternal
life was to keep the commandments. What then would be the most
important commandment to keep?
One of the scribes came, and having heard
them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them
well, asked him, “Which is the first commandment of all?” And Jesus
answered him, “The first of all the commandments [is], Hear, O
Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And you shall love the Lord
your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all
your mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first
commandment. And the second [is] like, this, you shall love your
neighbor as yourself. There are no other commandments greater than
these.” And the scribe said to him, “Well, Master, you have said
the truth: for there is one God; and there is no other but he: And
to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and
with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love [his]
neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and
belief in One God is the greatest commandment, as Jesus said and was
confirmed by the scribe. And although Jesus believed he was
certainly inspired by God, to claim that he WAS God would violate
this (the first or greatest) commandment. Since Jesus said
that keeping the commandments was the way to eternal life, from a
Jewish perspective, to believe that he was God would be the worst
thing that you could do.
Greeks, however, this was not so. They had a god for
EVERYTHING. To believe that Jesus was NOT God would be un-natural
for them. So as the beliefs developed among the early Greek
(Gentile) Christians, they struggled to comprehend the Hebrew
(Jewish) concept of Messiah. But their understanding of what
Messiah was, was quite different than the Hebraic (Jewish)
So if the
Jewish understanding of Messiah is NOT God coming to the earth as a
man in order to save mankind, what was Messiah to do, and how then
are we "saved"?
with the verse above:
And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he
said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom
The kingdom of God was the message that Jesus preached. It is what
he called the “good news” or the gospel. This was the message that
Jesus says he was sent to deliver.
And he said to them, I must preach the
to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.
What exactly is the kingdom
of God? It is that time in the future when the lost northern
kingdom of Israel is reunited with the saved southern kingdom
of Judah, and Messiah will rule over both of them during an era of
Behold, the days come, says the LORD, that
I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the
house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their
fathers in the day [that] I took them by the hand to bring them out
of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke, although I was
an husband to them, says the LORD: But this [shall be] the covenant
that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, says
the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in
their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
The key prophecy to be fulfilled in order for this to happen is the
RETURN of the northern kingdom.
The Hebrew word for "repent" is tshuvah and is better
translated as "return". So when Jesus was saying, “Repent for
the kingdom of God is at hand”, he is saying “return”.
Who is he expecting to return?
believed that he was the Messiah that dies. In Jewish
tradition that Messiah is called Messiah ben Joseph. The task
that Messiah ben Joseph was to accomplish, was (through his death)
the return of the northern kingdom. This is how the northern kingdom
is "saved"; they are brought back from exile, and are no longer
"lost" among the nations.
Jesus said that he came to “save that which was lost” in Matthew
18:11, and in Matthew 15:24 he says that he was ONLY sent
to "the lost sheep of the House of Israel".
"the lost sheep of the House of Israel" is not an ambiguous one.
The prophets talk about the "House of Israel" and the "House of
Judah". The House of Israel (the northern kingdom) is also referred
to as people that are lost. So to say "the lost sheep of the House
of Israel" is very specific. It refers to the northern
kingdom, sometimes called the Lost Ten Tribes.
northern kingdom was a nation of rebellious people who did not
follow God nor keep his commandments. The main sin of the nation was
idolatry (following other gods). By making Messiah into God,
many people, who believe that today they are part of the northern
kingdom, are guilty of precisely the same sin as their forefathers;
the sin of idolatry.
the biggest obstacle preventing the northern kingdom from returning.
The task of abandoning the Greek version of Messiah is not easy;
there is much in Christian theology that hinges on the belief that
Messiah is God. There seems to be much more UN-learning to do
before the northern kingdom is truly "saved".
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