The first time I ever smelled a bottle of sour mash whiskey opened, I thought to myself “that smells like Mr George”. It didn’t occur to me in the moment that Mr George always smelled like whiskey. But, he did. If you saw him at seven am or eleven pm it was the same. He was always somewhat drunk but still mostly functional. He owned a small garage and was said to be good at what he did. But, sometimes it Was difficult to get him to complete the job in a timely manner. He had a tendency to spend more time drinking than working. It had been like that for many years and Mr George was getting a little age on him.
One day he came into my dad’s store and I noticed he was well dressed. His hair was neatly cut and combed and he smelled like after shave lotion, not whisky. He wasn’t talking loudly cursing or being his obnoxious self like normal. He was quiet and well spoken. I wondered what had happened. I thought to myself “something has changed him”. The change was dramatic and provoked people to talk about and question what had happened. I later heard that he had attended a revival at a local church and had come forward at the alter call and had received Jesus. I must admit I was a skeptic as to how long his new found salvation would last. After all. He was a long time alcoholic. He was known to fist fight with anyone that crossed him and the man could cuss until the air turned blue around him. It takes a lot for a man like that to suddenly change. But, as time went on it grew obvious that the change was both real and permanent. Mr George began to pick elderly people up on Sunday mornings and drive them to church. He stood up in church and gave tearful and heart felt testimonies of how God had saved him. He taught Sunday school for a while. Sometime after he was being asked to come speak at services and revivals. It truly was one of the most amazing transformations that I have ever witnessed.
Last week I had the pleasure of going on a long drive with someone. The person I was with seems to be questioning some of their churches doctrines and began to ask me to tell him what I believe. I am always a little apprehensive when that happens and I will only discuss my faith with people that are truly open to hearing what Yeshua has to say on whatever subject we are talking about. After some discussion about various topics the conversation turned to how someone receives Yeshua. I started explaining the difference between the modern evangelical (Pauline) church view that one has but to believe in the death, burial and resurrection of him and invite him into your heart and the words of Yeshua who taught repentance and obedience to the laws of YHVH. Listen to what Yeshua says.
First on repentance.
Matthew 4:17, From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Luke 18:9-14, And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Second on obedience.
Matthew 7:21, “not everyone who says to me,’Lord,Lord, will enter the Kingdom Of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in your name, and done many wonders in your name? And I will declare to them. “I never knew you, depart from me you who practice lawlessness”.
Matthew 24:12-13, And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved (saved translates to rescued or healed).
Matthew 19:16-17, And, behold, one came and said to him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said to him, Why call you me good? there is none good but one, that is, YHVH: but if you will enter into life, keep the commandments.
Yeshua’s teaching on being saved is all about repenting and obeying YHVH’s law. Yeshua warns us against simply believing and actually obeying. The lost practicing lawless is a continual theme and Yeshua constantly warns us against it.
The Apostle John who was one of the twelve given the great commission and was both the Apostle that Yeshua loved and the writer of the book of Revelations, said,
John 1:9-11, Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.
Speaking of the commission given to the Apostles lets look at it.
Matthew 28:19-20, Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Many people have accused me of discounting grace. I do not discount grace. Grace, which is defined as unmerited favor, Is YHVH’s gift to us when we truly repent of our lawlessness. Therefore, without grace we would be lost and still in our sins. However, that being said once a person has repented it is incumbent on them to begin to study what YHVH requires of them and to obey his commandments and to put into effect their new found love for YHVH and for their fellow man.
James 2:19, You believe that God is one. You do well. The demons also believe—and shudder.
Their belief in YHVH and even fear of him will not save them. It likewise won’t save you.
Mr George must have done something right. It changed him permanently and it was obvious to all. I believe some deep and fundamental change happened to mr George. I believe he repented, he believed and he obeyed to the best of his understanding. Somewhere about here I think if the story of Mr George were a parable of Yeshua he would say something like “go, and do likewise”.