Before you click away and toss Teshuvah out the window because you cannot find it in the Bible and is known as a Jewish practice, let’s talk about why it is beneficial to participate as a Biblical Gentile Christian.
Teshuvah is a time of repentance (I think we can agree that repentance is good thing whether you are a Jew or Gentile!)
I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.
Acts 20:21 (NIV)
Teshuvah means to return/repent…it is a way of atoning for one’s sin. Let’s just get one thing straight – Jesus was and is and will forever be the one and only perfect atonement for our sin! Let’s take a look though at what is actually involved through Teshuvah (See Wikipedia Teshuvah).
- regretting/acknowledging the sin;
- forsaking the sin;
- worrying about the future consequences of the sin;
- acting and speaking with humility;
- acting in a way opposite to that of the sin (for example, for the sin of lying, one should speak the truth);
- understanding the magnitude of the sin;
- refraining from lesser sins for the purpose of safeguarding oneself against committing greater sins;
- confessing the sin;
- praying for atonement;
- correcting the sin however possible (for example, if one stole an object, the stolen item must be returned or if one slanders another, the slanderer must ask the injured party for forgiveness);
- pursuing works of chesed and truth;
- remembering the sin for the rest of one’s life;
- refraining from committing the same sin if the opportunity presents itself again;
- teaching others not to sin.
What is beneficial through Teshuvah is the recognition, remorse, and refrain from sin. To the contrary, if we minimize or fail to admit our sin, we mock the cross even as Christians and we continue in our sin so grace may abound (Romans 6:1).
Repentance acknowledges the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross because you admit you are a sinner. Daily repentance acknowledges your daily need for Christ in admitting that you need help refraining from continued sin.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9 (NIV)
Although repentance should be a daily personal part of your relationship with Jesus Christ, there is also need to come together as a body of believers participating in an annual holy day or season. Think of Thanksgiving. We ought to be grateful every day, but there is a reverence and remembrance in coming together to give thanks.
Furthermore, our personal sins do not affect just us, they affect our surrounding family, our friends and contribute to the sins of a nation. Think about it this way…if you vote a politician into office who supports then passes a law to legalize something that is directly contrary to God’s law, you have contributed to the sins of others whether intentionally or unintentionally. The Israelites even had to make sacrifices for sins they unknowingly committed.
Teshuvah is not a mandatory ritual prescribed by God, nor would He want you to participate without recognizing that Jesus Christ atoned fully for your sins. God doesn’t atone based on your good works, yet faith without good works is dead.
Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
Galatians 2:16 (ESV)
What is the use (profit), my brethren, for anyone to profess to have faith if he has no [good] works [to show for it]? Can [such] faith save [his soul]?
James 2:14 (AMP)
Repentance requires us to actively seek a right relationship with God and others. Our nation right now, and many others, are in crisis…a crisis of the heart. Please consider the importance and urgency of gathering together (even if virtually) during this season of Teshuvah with a desire for repentance personally and communally…turning away from sin and turning to the Lord.
Make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.
2 Peter 3:14 (NLT)
Peace and blessings to you,
– John & Jenn