Pursuing the fruit by not sitting on the fence
Messianic Judaism sits on the wooden fence rail between the grassy fields of Christianity and Judaism.
In the one field, we are taught that salvation is a gift of God, not of works, and in the other, that our good works bring us favor before God. Neither field is as green as it appears. If we dig down to the roots, i.e. return to the scriptures, we see an intertwined relationship between faith and works.
2 Peter 1:3-4 speaks of the gift of God to us - the salvation that we cannot attain on our own.
In the following verses (5-11), the passage reveals the path we take after salvation.
Salvation is merely the beginning of our journey, and we come to our understanding of this great gift of salvation through knowledge of the Word of God. We become aware of our sins and the price we, and others around us, pay.
We become aware of the distance between us and our Creator, and also of the bridge that returns us to Him.
When we accept the salvation of God by faith, we are employed in the heavenly host, armed for spiritual battle and ready to climb the ranks.
2 Peter 1:5-7 commands us "add to your faith goodness, and to goodness, knowledge, and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, Godliness; and to Godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love."
These are character traits that build us up in the image of our Creator, gradually restoring us to the position we once held before the fall in the Garden of Eden.
God grants salvation, but it is our duty to proceed in our faith through good spiritual works that build up the Body of Messiah, both personally and within our communities.
Rabbi Dale Cohen at Lake Whitney State Park this past weekend said, "There is no unity within Messianic Judaism."
Part of the problem is that while we sit on the fence surveying both Christianity and Judaism, we lack a field of our own in which to sow seeds and watch our crops grow.
We lack unifying leadership, we lack basic knowledge of the scriptures, and we lack the character qualities of which 2 Peter speaks. It is time for Messianic Judaism to bear fruit, but we can’t sow while we’re sitting on a fence.