Certainly we are saved by grace. There is nothing that we could do to merit salvation. Through the gift of Yahweh we are called to salvation. Yahshua’s choosing of those who will become a part of His Body, however, entails considerably more than merely believing that He is the Redeemer of Israel.
The writer of Hebrews says, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Messiah, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works,” Hebrews 6:1. Clearly we are to continue on with more than mere repentance and reveling in the grace that we are given to become a part of the Body of Messiah.
Of Fresh and Rotten Fruit
The 15th chapter of John has one main theme – growth. Development and progress in Yahweh’s ways are not mere desires or requests made by the Father. They are absolute necessities.
A follower of Yahshua must adhere to certain requirements in order to continue as a believer. Yahshua plainly taught these inJohn 15. We are likened to branches and Yahshua is likened to a vine. Branches can be removed from the vine if necessary by the Father who prunes the vine. The good branch is one that “brings forth fruit.” The branch produces fruit by abiding in the vine (truth). If a branch fails, it withers and is cast away.
Yahweh made His creatures. He is called the husbandman. He can rightfully expect fruit from those that are in the vine. Scripture says, “The husbandman waits for the precious fruit of the earth and has long patience for it,” James 5:7.
Belief Is Not Enough
Believing and trusting in Yahshua the Messiah is the first requirement to becoming a part of the Body of Messiah. Belief is vital. It is the necessary starting point without which no one could be saved. But we cannot stop there. Many have failed to recognize that Yahweh the Father EXPECTS something from man for his part in the covenant.
The salvation of man is not a one-sided affair in either cost or profit. For salvation, a covenant is entered by two individuals – Yahweh and man. Each will assume a specific part of the covenant and each is to do his part.
Too many modern clerics portray Yahweh as a great sovereign who without any expectations of man rescues him from a burning hell. They would have us believe that the whole world had potentially been saved since the death of Yahshua the Messiah. On the contrary. To believe in the promises of the Bible requires effort. One has to study and prove to oneself that the Bible is true. The promises offered in the Bible carry with them certain obligations.
Examples of Belief
The Philippian jailer in Acts 16 asked Paul and Silas what he must do to be saved. Paul responded, “Believe on the Savior Yahshua the Messiah and you shall be saved and your house,” verse 32. According to just this statement, belief would not only save the Philippian but also his family. If this man had 10 children, all of these and his wife would have been converts or followers of the Messiah the moment the Philippian jailer believed on the Messiah. This seems logical if we were to select only this passage, isolating it from all other Scriptures.
In establishing any doctrine, how-ever, we are required to incorporate all pertinent Scriptures. The foundation stone of our belief must rest not upon one verse, one chapter or one book of the Bible. Our doctrines and belief in the Scripture must rest upon all Scripture. The entire Bible is given by inspiration of Yahweh, 2Timothy 3:16.
In the time of Yahshua the Messiah some believed on Him but failed to continue to act on that belief. We read in John 12:42, “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue.” Here were men who were convinced deep down in inside that this was indeed the promised Messiah. Yet they feared what others would say about their belief and therefore did not confess Him before men.
If all the Philippian jailer had to do was to believe, then because all the chief rulers also believed they were saved as well, no matter what they did. But is this conclusion biblical? Even the devils believe, James 2:19.
Yahshua answers in Matthew 10:33, “But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven.” These chief rulers denied Yahshua not because they did not believe on Him, but because they placed a greater value upon the praise of men than upon Yahweh. They were embarrassed to have acknowledged before all men that they believed He was the Messiah.
Rather than risk ridicule, they decided it was better not to make public their belief in Him.
Salvation Is Doing Yahweh’s Will
Believing in Yahshua the Messiah and accepting His Word as truth is not the entire prerequisite expected of Yahweh’s people. Yahshua said in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone that saith unto Me, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi,’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say unto Me in that day, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi’ … I will profess unto them, ‘I never knew you.’”
Mere belief does not make us a part of the Body of Messiah. Belief in Yahshua merely opens the door to becoming children of Yahweh. “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of Yahweh, even to them that believe on His Name,” John 1:12. There is a great difference in having power to become something and actually becoming it.
When we believe in Yahweh’s Word, we naturally act upon that belief. When we accept His Word as true, then acting on it shows that we do in fact believe it. Paul said he had not yet come to a point at which he felt secure. Notice his words in Philippians 3:12-14, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I was apprehended of Messiah Yahshua. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended… I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of Yahweh in Messiah Yahshua.”
Paul admitted that he had not yet attained his high calling, but was making every effort to reach it. Further, in 1Corinthians 9:25- 27, Paul says, “Every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things. I therefore so run. . . I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” Paul boldly states that the Messiah’s vine and branches – believers – are to bring forth fruit or be cut off.
He wrote to the Romans, “Know you not that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey?” Romans 6:16. Paul also pleaded with the believers in Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of Yahweh, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto Yahweh which is your reasonable service.”
Very clearly in the eighth chapter of Romans Paul warned that we cannot live a worldly life and expect to be totally acceptable to Yahweh. Notice his terse comment, “They that are in the flesh cannot please Yahweh. If you live after the flesh you shall die,” verses 8 and 13. Paul clearly says that we must live our lives for Yahweh day by day, seven days a week, every week of the year.
John Recognized a Duty
John was the disciple “that Yahshua loved,” Scripture says. He had every reason to believe in the grace Yahweh has for His people. But notice the obligations He mentions in 1 John 2:4, “He that says I know Him and keeps not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” In verse 3, John says to know Him is to keep His commandments.
In the first chapter he places the condition for the covering of the blood of Yahshua upon our walk in the light. Notice, “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Yahshua Messiah His Son cleanses us from all sin,” verse 7. Clearly, there is no cleansing by the blood of Yahshua to anyone who fails to walk in the light. We have an obligation and a duty.
Becoming a disciple of Yahshua the Messiah is a lifetime occupation. Living for Him is a constant growth and overcoming effort. We are to become closer followers of Yahshua day by day. We are to bear fruit for the Heavenly Father. By our fruits we are known. The fruits become obvious as physical manifestations of Yahweh’s Spirit work through us.
We find the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22 as “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.” All of these require effort and demonstrate Yahweh’s Spirit taking hold of our lives. We must allow His influence to dominate us to the point that our own wills give way to the Spirit of Yahweh’s goodness.
When we have achieved this goal then we can say that our lives are in harmony with Yahshua’s.