The Bible teaches us that the wages of sin lead to death; the way of obedience - to life (Matthew 7:13-14). And only those who hear and do God's Word will have life (Matthew 7:21-23).
Desire for an easy religion which requires no striving, no self-denial, no divorce from the follies of the world, has made the doctrine of faith and faith only a popular doctrine; but what does the Word of God say?
"What good is it, my brothers, if someone claims to have faith, but has no actions to prove it? Is such faith' able to save him?... But, foolish fellow, do you want to be shown that such faith' apart from actions is barren? Wasn't Avraham avinu (our father, Abraham) declared righteous because of actions, when he offered up his son Yitchak (Isaac) on the altar? You see that his faith worked with his actions; by the actions of faith was made complete . . . you see that a person is declared righteous because of actions and not because of faith alone" (James 2:14- 24).
The testimony of the Word of God is against this ensnaring doctrine of faith without works. Let me explain, if you have faith (trust), you will have works. Not works as we think of works pertaining to salvation, but your trust will produce righteous acts, deeds according to your trust. It is not trust that claims the favor of heaven without complying with conditions upon which mercy is to be granted, it is presumption. Our Father has His foundation in the very promises and provisions He laid out in the Scriptures for us.
Let none deceive themselves with the belief that they can become holy while wilfully violating one of God's requirements. The commission of a known sin silences the witnessing voice of the Spirit and separates the soul from God. We can be religious and die and go to hell. Follow God, not man.
The Messiah loved the Messianic community, indeed, gave Himself up on its behalf (Ephesians 5:25). It is nurtured by His (Messiah's) own dynamic life "in order to set it apart from God, making it clean through immersion in the mikveh (ritual purification pool), so-to-speak" (Ephesians 5:26). The Bible tells us that "He (Messiah) will come to claim it as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband" (Revelation 21:2). "In order to present the Messianic community to Himself as a bride to be proud of, without a spot, wrinkle, or any such thing, but holy and without defect" (Ephesians 5:27; Genesis 2:1-25; Isaiah 26, 60).
Are you serving religion or the "body of Messiah?" The answers are found within the Word of God.
The Messiah did not die for stained glass windows, carpets on the floor or a fancy organ. He (Messiah) did not die for "religion." Religion killed the Messiah. Religions center around man-made doctrines, services, and even cults. Many so-called religions teach half-truths, or distort the truth. Sha'ul (Paul) warns us: "For the time is coming when people will not have patience for sound teaching, but will cater to their passions and gather around themselves teachers who say whatever their ears itch to hear" (II Timothy 4:3). Yeshua said, "Many will come in my name saying, I am he!' and will fool many people" (Mark 13:6).
Is this not true today? Very few worship Yeshua on the true Sabbath. You may go to Church every time the doors are open. You may teach Bible School, give tithes, sing and shout. You may call yourself by a religious title or name. And yet, not be any closer to God than a sinner. Do you have power and the victory in Yeshua?
Yes, you may be religious and die and go to hell, because many people are closer to their man-made religion than they are to God. They have what it takes to be religious outwardly. They are going through the motions at playing at church, the body of Yeshua, they can't find true victory.
The Holy Scriptures teach us that: "The time has come for the judgement to begin. It begins with the household of God; it starts with us, what will the outcome be for those who are disobeying God's good news?" (I Peter 4:17, 1-19; Proverbs 11:31; Jeremiah 25:1-38).
We need to stand fast in God's Holy Word. Christians who do not know whose they are, what they believe or why they believe are especially vulnerable to man-made doctrines and religions. Sha'ul (Paul) admonished Timothy to, "Proclaim the Word! Be on hand with it, whether the time seems right or not. Convict, censure, and exhort with unfailing patience and with teaching" (II Timothy 4:2).
We must follow God and not man. God's Word tells us to "seek and we shall find." Our trust and total worship must be in God's Word (His doctrine) not mans. I have learned that there can be disagreements of theology, methods and motives, but within the true Church(God's Holy Word) there is a mysterious unity that overrides all divisive factors. God's commandments teach us the unity of His message and direction for us!
God is returning the focus again to Jerusalem. The place of beginnings is also the place of endings. And God's endings are always glorious.
This overview is hardly definitive, but an unfolding of Scriptures coming into prominence in these days, as Moshe saw the promise land from Mt. Nebo, one sees the world from Jerusalem.