I am currently reading a fascinating book by a secular Israeli Jew who became a Christian. It is full of valuable insights into the working of the Israeli Republic and the tapestry of different peoples that make it up.
"But when the kindness and the ahavah (love) of Elohim (God) our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), whom He poured out on us abundantly through Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) our Saviour, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal chayim (life)" (Titus 3:4-7, NKJV).
One tid-bit that I wanted to share with you today is that Orthodox Jews claim that in order to be a good Jew you don't need to believe in Elohim (God), but just fulfil the 613 mitzvot described in the Pentateuch, but not those that tell you to believe in Elohim (God).
This classical Pharisaic 'logic' that so infuriated Yah'shua (Jesus) on many occasions is unfortunately not merely limited to Judaism - it's becoming increasingly true in much of Christianity. Here in Sweden the head of the Lutheran Church isn't sure if his 'God' even exists or not. You don't need to believe in 'God' to be a member of the Lutheran Church any longer - there 'all you need is (lawless) love'.
Indeed, the modern liberal and highly politicised Swedish Lutheran Church believes in even less mitzvot (commandments) than its founder once did (and that was precious few), a trend being followed in most of the increasingly secularised mainstream Protestant churches. The Reformation has been all but degutted of what guts it once had.
Religion without belief in Elohim (God) is no religion - it's a farce. Better to be an atheist or agnostic with Christian moral values, which is really what much of Christianity has become. It's time these religious hypocrites owned up to it and stopped playing games with the apostolic faith they no longer accept. They're not believers - how can they be? In fact, they're no different from Orthodox Jews who have no faith in Yahweh either.
When you start distilling out the important things that make a person an authentic believer, and those whom Yahweh recognises, you are left with the two inseparable components
of genuine emunah (faith):
If you meet someone who believes in Yahweh and Yah'shua (Jesus) and is seeking to honestly do something about it, even if they have it wrong and are confused about the mitzvot (commandments), they are far better to be associated with than those who do not believe in Elohim (God) but who are living all the mitzvot (commandments) except those requiring that we have emunah (faith) in Elohim (God)! And yet there are, unfortunately, many who look up to commandment-keepers who have no emunah (faith), who reject Yah'shua (Jesus) and who would be happy to see them dead.
- 1. Belief in the existence of Yahweh and His Son Yah'shua (Jesus); and
- 2. Doing your best with what you know to do something about it.
Emunah (Faith) must preceed works for the works to have any sort of legitimacy, because works do not save - emunah (does)! And even if works are ultimately the evidence of emunah (faith), they still don't make a person right with Yahweh! If only all believers understood this. Torah is vitally important but it is never the main thing. And until we come to grips with this, we will end up as bigoted, hypocritical religionists who have no more power to lead a soul to salvation - however knowledgeable in Torah they might be - than a bottle can convince a thirsty man that it alone is what slakes thirst.
So don't go judging people who have a strong emunah (faith) in Yahweh and are honestly trying to serve Him, no matter how topsy-turvy their theology may be, in pegging him lower than a rule-following religionist who either doesn't believe in Elohim (God) or hasn't met Him. Yahweh starts with all kinds of raw material - recognise what He does use and don't be fooled by Pharisaic legalism which make a man's works the main thing.