What are the primary differences, theologically, between Judaism, Messianic Judaism, and Christianity regarding the role of Faith?
This week we continue to delve deeper into each on the categories we discussed at a high level 6 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 Faith.
As stated last week, in traditional Judaism the results of Faith are seen as more important than Faith alone. While the concept of Works is very important, and "fixing the world" is a key concept, to characterize Judaism as Works-based would totally disregard the reason one does the Works - to sanctify G-D's Name!
Thus Faith in the G-D of Israel is key to an observant Jews relationship to G-D. Doing good Works is expressing that Faith.
Traditional Protestant denominations stress Faith alone; some implying Works are not spiritual, thus are almost "evil." This view does not agree with Scripture, as Messiah often made it clear that concrete action is required to follow Him. Ya'akov (incorrectly translated James) states that "Faith without works is dead faith."
Rabbi Sha'ul (Paul) makes it clear that "the just shall live by faith." While many use this passage to their own destruction (see last weeks newsletter), the point is valid. Faith in the One True G-D, and His Messiah, are the basis for Salvation.
Messianic Jewish theology varies; most groups state that Faith in the G-D of Isra'el and His Messiah are paramount. We as a Congregation hold to this opinion. While we do encourage good Works, we stress it is to be an outcome (fruit) of our Faith, not to earn Salvation.
This directly points to our belief in Torah. We are saved by Faith, not by keeping Torah. We keep Torah to walk in G-D's commands and as visible fruit of our Salvation.
In Summary - "We do not keep Torah to be saved, we keep Torah because we are saved!"
Next week we will address in detail the other Theological differences.
Shalom - Rabbi Gavri'el