Ask the Rabbi - Judaism, Messianic Judaism, and Christianity Theological Differences Pt 7 - Repentance
What are the primary differences, theologically, between Judaism, Messianic Judaism, and Christianity regarding repentance?
This week we continue to delve deeper into each on the categories we discussed at a high level 7 weeks ago. The primary High Level differences are:
* The role of Torah
* The role of Oral Torah
* The Messiahship of Yeshua Ha'Nazaret
* The Deity of Yeshua
* The role of Works
* The role of Faith
Before we begin a brief disclaimer - We do not believe everyone has to believe exactly as we do to have a relationship with G-D, and for that relationship to result in that person spending eternity with G-D. We also believe strongly in the promise that Rabbi Sha'ul (Paul) stated that "all Israel will be saved." We do not want to be dogmatic about exactly what that means, as views differ. We also believe scripture clearly teaches that Jews, Christians and Messianic Jews will make up the Kingdom. As for our Sunday brothers and sisters, whether Protestant or Catholic, many truly love G-D and will inherit the Kingdom.
Theologically, Judaism, Messianic Judaism, and Christianity began on a common road that split into 3 separate paths. One of the key areas involved in this split was the the role of repentance.
Traditional Judaism stresses three key actions to walking in a right relationship to G-D:
Prayer, Acts of Loving Kindness, and T'shuvah (Repentance). These 3 actions are all predicated on having Faith in the One True G-D of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. For this article we will focus on T'shuvah (Repentance)
T'shuvah in Judaism is much more that feeling sorry for an action; it is making it right. This is a key concept. If a person sins against G-D; they are to confess the sin to G-D. If a person sins against another person; they are to confess both to G-D and to the one they acted against. In the case of a monetary or property damage, they are to pay back the damages, plus an additional amount for restitution.
In both cases (sin against G-D and sin against a person), the sign of true repentance is that the person turns from the evil action and does not do it again.
This definition is a far cry above what is generally thought of as repentance.
Many traditional Protestant denominations teach (more by deed than word) a much softer, feel-good, type of repentance. Generally, the repentance demonstrated by most is a "I'm sorry G-D" type of feel-good repentance. Few ever teach that we must confess to our brother any wrong committed and make it right.
This is a general statement; there are some excellent churches and leaders that do not teach this "feel-good" repentance. Verbose confessions and crying do not necessarily make for true repentance. True repentance demands the person turn away from the sin!
Messianic Jewish theology follows the concept of T'Shuvah in accordance to the teachings of our Great Rabbi (Yeshua). This form is consistent with that taught in Traditional Judaism.
Thus, sin against G-D must be confessed to G-D, and the person must turn from the sin.
Sin against man must be confessed to G-D and man, and restitution must be made.
In either case, the true test of whether that repentance was sincere, and whether it is accepted by G-D, is whether we turn from the sin!
Shalom - Rabbi Gavri'el