Many religions claim rite of passage into the World to Come, and some even believe that if you say the "sinners' prayer" or follow certain "salvational doctrines" that you will be "saved." Thankfully, there was a man who posed the question to Y'shua: "Good teacher, what is good that I should do that I should have eternal life?" (Matthew 19:16) Some theologians feel this man was a misguided soul because he suggested that he had to "do" something rather than just "believe." We'll look at Y'shua's answer in a moment, but first let's find out what Keefa (Shimon Peter) was preaching, shortly after Y'shua was resurrected.
"And when they heard these things they were touched in their hearts, and they said to Shimon and to the rest of the Shlichim, "What should we do, our brothers?" Shimon said to them, "Repent and be immersed each of you in the name of Master YHWH-Y'shua for the forgiveness of sins, that you may receive the gift of the Ruach haKodesh. For to you was the promise, and to your children, and to all those who are far away whom Elohim will call. And with many other words he would witness to them and he would beseech them while saying, Save (yourselves) from this perverse generation." And some of them readily received his word and believed and were immersed. And there were added in that day about three thousand souls." (Acts 2:37-41)
Notice that Keefa preached both repentance and immersion in the name of Master YHWH-Y'shua. In this verse MarYah and Y'shua appeared right next to one another; therefore, we know that it is the Spirit of YHWH in Y'shua Who ultimately provides Salvation. Notice also there is not only the required action of repentance and immersion for the forgiveness of sins; but this is done in order to receive the gift of the Ruach haKodesh (Set Apart Spirit). The Ruach haKodesh will not indwell someone who is living in rebellion. The work of the Ruach haKodesh is to write Torah in the inward parts, which is confirmed by the appearance of "fruits" of the Spirit. In other words, each one of us must prepare a place in our hearts to welcome the Ruach haKodesh.
Repentance is an extremely important concept to understand and apply to our lives if we are planning to enter into eternal life. Repentance means "turn to YHWH," which also means one must turn from sin and keep the Commandments. Getting back to the question about eternal life, here's Y'shua's answer: "Now if you desire to enter into life, keep the Commandments."(Matthew 19:17) The answer applies to everyone who has ever drawn a breath. But the fellow wanted a quick fix and asked, "Which ones?" So Y'shua began listing Commandments from Torah (including the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20) and the fellow replied, "All these things I have obeyed them from my youth. What do I lack?" Now, how many have actually kept all the Ten Commandments from their youth, in their original context? Imagine being there yourself; could you respond as this fellow did? Y'shua is clearly teaching that the first prerequisite for salvation is keeping the Commandments!
In Mark 12:29-31 Mashiyach Y'shua teaches: "The first of all the Commandments is "Hear O Israel. Master YHWH our Elohim is one. And you should love Master YHWH your Elohim with all of your heart, and with all of your soul, and with all of your mind, and with all of your strength." This is the first Commandment. And the second that is like it is that. "You should love your neighbor as yourself." There is no other Commandment greater than these." Mashiyach taught the central theme of Torah (Deuteronomy 6:4, 5; Leviticus 19:18); that all of Torah revolves around love toward YHWH and our fellow man. This Commandment is so primary that Rabbis have suggested that all the rest of Torah is "commentary" - that the rest of Torah provides the details about how to love YHWH and our fellow man. Clearly everyone must keep these two greatest Commandments for salvation; but we must keep them according to the Word of YHWH, not the traditions of men!
Yochanan (John) explains how we are to keep these great Commandments: "And by this we shall be sensible that we know him, if we keep his Commandments. For he that says I know him, and does not keep his Commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in him. But he that keeps his Word, in him is the Love of Elohim truly completed: for by this we know that we are in him. He that says I am in him is bound to walk according to his halacha. My beloved, I write no new commandment to you, but the old Commandment which you had from the beginning; and the old Commandment is the Word which you have heard." (1 Yochanan 2:3-7)
Insisting that we "love YHWH" or that we "know Him" can be two very different things. Notice that those who say they "know Him" and don't keep his Commandments are liars! How much more then are they liars who say they "love Him" and yet don't bother to keep His Commandments? Yochanan says he that "keeps his Word" has the Love of Elohim truly completed, and this is how we know that we are in him! Make no mistake, this is the same WORD that Dawid spoke when he declared, "My tongue shall speak of Your Word: for all Your Commandments are righteousness." (Psalm 119:172)
Rav Shaul (Paul) preached the same message; he emphasized, "circumcision is nothing, neither is uncircumcision; but the keeping of Elohim's commands" is what counts! (1 Corinthians 7:19). Shaul also taught that it's very easy to be seduced by sin, but through the Commandments we are able to recognize what sin is: "For sin, by the occasion which it found by means of the Commandment, seduced me and thereby slew me. Wherefore, Torah is Set Apart; and the Commandment is Set Apart, and righteous, and good." (Romans 7:11, 12).
As we approach the end of the Scriptures there is a beautiful promise for all who expect eternal life: "Blessed are they who do His (YHWH's) Commandments, that they may have a right to the tree of life and may enter through the gates into the city." (Revelation 22:14). Is it any surprise that the Commandments of YHWH are tied together with the Tree of Life? At the end of Revelation we return to Gan Eden before original sin, where we see that the Tree of Life is the eternal Kingdom of Elohim. So, if you've heard religious people teach that we "don't have to keep the Commandments" of YHWH for salvation, then ask yourself this: Do those who teach that we don't have to keep the Commandments keep the Commandments themselves? Probably not - because they want you to join with them in what they do....
Most insist they "don't have to keep the Commandments" because "Jesus Christ" kept them perfectly for them. Herein is the "Mystery of Iniquity" revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:3-15). The lawless one, also known as anti-Mashiyach, heads the charge against keeping the Commandments in the name of the false Mashiyach. We can therefore clearly determine that this is the "other Jesus" Paul spoke of, who has inspired many souls into disobedience. We must be very careful about any false parallel, since Rav Shaul says that if anyone else, including a heavenly messenger, teaches a Good News other than the original one, that person is cursed! (Galatians 1:9-10).
Those who don't obey the Commandments don't want you obeying them either. Some "Christians" even teach that if you keep the Commandments you will go to hell because you've fallen from "Grace." The truth is that Grace is the gift of the Ruach haKodesh that empowers us to keep the Commandments of YHWH by Faith! Nearly everyone who keeps the Commandments of YHWH and observes Torah according to Mashiyach will testify that it is a miracle to be spiritually sustained and keep the Commandments in a world of people who've come to hate them for doing so.
In order to truly please our Creator, we must place our trust in Mashiyach Y'shua who teaches: "If you desire to enter into life, keep the Commandments." On this same theme Rav Shaul teaches: "When we were dead in our sins, gave us life with the Mashiyach and rescued us by His grace...." Dead in our sins means that we stop breaking the Commandments. The word rescued here literally means "saved." A variant of this word is what we call "Savior" in English. In Aramaic the concept of a savior is literally: "Giver of life."