As we are soon to enter Yom Kippur and conclude the 10 Days of Awe with the focus on repentance. We have to ask ourselves, What is repentance for Jews?
The standard answer in the Church and for many in Messianic Jewish circles is that Jews need to repent of their sins and to put their faith in Yeshua as Messiah. But what is this sin for Jews that one needs to repent, other than living outside the bounds of Torah and violation of Torah commands? This leads us to ask what is the sign of true repentance for Jews? It is to turn from violating God’s Torah and seeking to live within it’s boundaries.
A call to Yeshua-faith and repentance that does not lead towards a life of walking on the path of Torah is not a true call to repentance, I would call it incomplete repentance and those that espouse a repentance and Yeshua-faith without a call to turn to living in Torah ways can be an example of what Paul called following “another Yeshua and another good news”, but this Yeshua is not the true Yeshua, and this good news is at best inadequate and at worst leading people to live in rebellion to God with the stamp of approval from those who espouse it.
The shape of Jewish repentance is bound up in stopping to sin by violating Torah and seeking to live Torah. A Torah-free life of a Messianic Jew is not a God-honoring life, and it is not a life demonstrating a complete repentance. If we are going to call Jewish people to accept Yeshua as Messiah, our message must include that following God for all Jews (especially Messianic Jews) is a life of walking within the bounds of Torah. If the great Messianic hope is Yom Shekulo Shabbat, a time of unending Shabbat, a time of all creation living in the light of Messiah and ordered by his Torah, should we not now call all Jews that honor Yeshua as Messiah to begin now to live lives ordered by the very Torah that the world to come will be ordered?
So as we head toward Yom Kippur, may all Jews seek complete repentance including the break with violating Torah and to begin living of Torah as an act of obeying God’s commands and also coming in faith to our Righteous Messiah, that empowers us to walk in God’ ways and live in complete repentance.