Statement of Faith
Today among all those who believe that Messiah has come and will come again there is no unity. Why? It is because of doctrine. We have never been able to agree on doctrine and never will be able to agree on doctrine. This group or that group points their finger at other groups and says those other groups are wrong because…. This often begins by putting down in writing what they believe to be true and essential to walk the true path of faith according to their understanding. All the while, what these groups that set down in writing their tenets of faith, point by point, fail to realize is that this very act is divisive. In essence what this does is to set forth the requirements of an exclusive club. Why is this so? Because no statement of faith encompasses all of Scripture, but rather only a small portion of it. The following of what you will read are more reasons why we should stay away from a traditional “Statement of Faith” and what one should focus upon in its stead.
Timothy Bet [2nd Timothy] 3:16
Every scripture inspired of Elohim is also profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness.
Please do not hear me saying that it is wrong for us to have doctrines. I am not saying that because Scripture teaches us that it is good for doctrine. But what is doctrine? In the above passage the word that is translated as doctrine actually means “teaching.” Scripture is good for teaching. However, what we often find is people using it as a means to include or exclude people from their particular group. This is simply wrong and against Scripture.
Have you ever wondered why the House of Judah (two tribes) has as much unity as they do? It does not really matter what kind of synagogue one enters, they are all virtually doing the same thing. They are all worshipping the same Elohim in the same way. Have you ever wondered why it is that Jews can stand toe to toe yelling at each other about some of the finer points of Scripture and when they are done, they can shake hands and part brothers and with no animosity? Have you ever wondered why Ephramites cannot do this? The answers to these questions are essential in furthering our own understanding of what it is that unifies them and what it is that divides us! Then hopefully we will be able to step into that same type of unity and embrace our fellow brothers and sisters in Messiah!
The short answer to those questions is found in the following passage.
Ya’aqov [James] 2:18
But someone will say that he has faith but I have actions. Show me this faith of yours without the actions, and I will show you my faith by my actions!
The thing that unifies Judah is their actions (their works, particularly worship). What divides and fragments Ephrayim are his beliefs (divorced from his actions). When Ephrayim learns that it is his actions (works of worship and service towards Elohim and his fellow man) that will unify him, then Elohim can form him into a people once again.
Let us illustrate this by the very words of Messiah Himself.
Matithyah [Matthew] 25:32-46
32“All the nations will be assembled before Him, and He will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates sheep from goats.
33 The ‘sheep’ He will place at His right hand and the ‘goats’ at His left.
34 Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you whom My Father has blessed, take your inheritance, the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.
35 For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you made Me your guest,
36 I needed clothes and you provided them, I was sick and you took care of Me, I was in prison and you visited Me.’
37 Then the people who have done what Elohim wants will reply, ‘Master, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
38 When did we see You a stranger and make You our guest, or needing clothes and provide them?
39 When did we see You sick or in prison, and visit You?’
40 The King will say to them, ‘Yes! I tell you that whenever you did these things for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did them for Me!’
41 Then He will also speak to those on His left, saying, ‘Get away from Me, you who are cursed! Go off into the fire prepared for the Adversary and his angels!
42 For I was hungry and you gave Me no food, thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink,
43 a stranger and you did not welcome Me, needing clothes and you did not give them to Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
44 Then they too will reply, ‘Master, when did we see You hungry, thirsty, a stranger, needing clothes, sick or in prison, and not take care of You?’
45 And he will answer them, ‘Yes! I tell you that whenever you refused to do it for the least important of these people, you refused to do it for Me!’
46 They will go off to eternal punishment, but those who have done what Elohim wants will go to eternal life.”
What is the only difference between these two groups? What is the determining factor that places each person in with the sheep or in with the goats? It is what they have done in this life. Please notice that it is not what they believe! It is simply what they did and did not do! It is their actions. It is our actions that determines whether we are a true believer or one who only gives lip-service to His commandments! This and this alone is what unifies His people.
In the above passage it is also important and instructive for us to note that the emphasis is upon others and what we do for them that will determine which group one is placed in. It is not the emphasis upon doctrine. Let us also consider this passage.
Matithyah [Matthew] 22:37-40
37 And He said unto him, “You shall love YHWH your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
38 This is the great and first commandment.
39 And a second like unto it is this, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.
40 On these two commandments the whole law hangs, and the prophets.”
Notice that these two commandments are something that we are commanded to do. We are not commanded just to believe them. No, rather what His commandments consist of, are things that we are to do; first, towards YHWH and second towards our fellow man. If we miss this, then we have missed His Kingdom.
Let us consider the following passage in light of what we are commanded to do.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 meekness, self-control; against such there is no law.
Notice that all these things that are listed are things that we do. To see this more clearly we need to back up a few verses and look at another list.
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; immorality, impurity, lasciviousness,
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, divisions, factions,
21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of Elohim.
Again, please notice that each and every item listed is some type of sin that men involve themselves with. And what is sin? Sin is an act of disobedience toward Elohim. Sin is not a wrong belief! Once again the determining factor is what one does or does not do! It is not what one believes!
Are there any among us who is so foolish that he thinks he knows that he has it all figured out and everything that he believes is absolutely correct? I would hope not! We are to sharpen each other so that we can be more like Him. However, if we make lists of beliefs and only associate with those who agree to the same list as we do, then how can we be sharpened? We cannot be!
Let us carefully consider exactly what these lists are and what they do. When a person or group of people set out to make a list of what they believe to be right and good have they not partaken of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? Partaking of this tree not only consists of deciding what is wrong, but equally what is right. And when we set out to make such a list as a Statement of Faith is this not simply a list of what is right? Can you see that this is not a good thing to do in the eyes of our Creator who commanded us not to eat of this tree? And why did He command us not to eat of this tree? Because as the Creator only He has the right to declare what is good and what is evil. We only have the right to listen for His Voice to determine what is good and evil.
Rather when we simply obey His commandments by listening to His Voice and doing as He directs us to do, then we can give latitude to our fellow servants and help each other along the way regardless of what we individually believe.
Ivrim [Hebrews] 11:6
Without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto Him; for he that comes to Elohim must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that seek after Him.
We must be well convinced and know that Elohim is! From that knowledge comes our obedience to Him. Please consider the faith and obedience of our father Avraham.
Ivrim [Hebrews] 11:8-9
8 By faith Avraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out unto a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he went.
9 By faith he became a sojourner in the land of promise, as in a land not his own, dwelling in tents, with Yitzchak (Isaac) and Ya’aqov (Jacob), the heirs with him of the same promise.
Furthermore, we find this truth spoken of again in another place.
Ivrim [Hebrews] 6:15-20
15 And thus, having patiently endured, [Avraham] obtained the promise.
16 For men swear by the greater; and in every dispute of theirs the oath is final for confirmation.
17 Wherein Elohim, being minded to show more abundantly unto the heirs of the promise the immutability of his counsel, interposed with an oath;
18 that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for Elohim to lie, we may have a strong encouragement, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us;
19 which we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and entering into that which is within the veil;
20 where as a forerunner Yeshua entered for us, having become a high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
And what two things are unchangeable? It is the promise and the oath, both of which YHWH gave to our father Avraham. Everything which is written in the Brit Chadasha (New Testament) is based upon these two unchangeable things, the promise and the oath. This is what gives us our anchor of faith to be able to obey His commandments without fail. It is not what we believe, it is what we do; i.e., obey His Voice! This is what our father Avraham did, he believed and acted in accordance with that belief (went to sacrifice his son) and it was counted to him as righteousness. It was what he did that was the determining factor.
When we see that it is the keeping of His commandments that makes us brethren, not like beliefs, then we will be able to walk together in unity and not until then.
Yochanan [John] 13:34-35
34 A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
35 By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one to another.
The thing about commandments, is that they are to be done more than believed. While it is true that we must believe them before we can obey them, only to believe them does one no good at all. In order for us to show that we are truly His disciples then we must show our love for one another. The only way that we can do this is if we are watching out for one another. As the second greatest commandment states, we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. How can we do this by what we believe? We cannot! How can we do this with our actions? When we see a need we do our best to meet that need. When we see one who is hungry we feed him. When we see one who is thirsty we give him something to drink. Whatever the need is we are to do our best to meet that need.
The bottom line is this, when each and every one of us does our very best to listen to His Voice and obey His commandments, that makes us brothers and sisters. This is what unifies us: our obedience! Let us not lose sight of this truth! Let us not focus on doctrine which only serves to divide us. Rather, let us come together to worship and serve the same Elohim from a heart filled with His love, the Elohim of Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya’aqov!
“In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I gave for an inheritance unto your fathers.”
Yermeyah [Jeremiah] 3:18
Amein & Amein!