After Forgiveness: The Next Step
“After I have been forgiven of my sins, and have been Born-Again — What is the Next Step?”
To help us know what steps to take, it helps to know our destination, and our ultimate goal. Our Heavenly Father has shown us this goal, by revealing His overall plans and purposes for us in the Holy Scriptures, the Bible.
One of Father’s purposes is that He would reconcile mankind to Himself, to make them right with Him. He will then lead them to their ultimate goal — into the Promised Land. As we shall see in this writing, Father’s plan for reconciling us, and leading us to our goal, consists of three basic steps.
As a quick review, we recall that our first step of being reconciled to our Creator is the forgiveness of our sins. Because our sins and iniquities prevent us from walking with Him in His ways, Father’s first step is to rescue us from the bondage of sin, and to forgive us. It is thus assumed, Dear Reader, that you have taken this first, vital step of receiving forgiveness of sins. If not, the Reader is urged to see the article, “How Do I Receive Forgiveness for my Sins?”
After the first step of forgiveness of sins has been taken, what is the next step? In this article we will discover what Scripture reveals as the second and third steps. To understand the importance of the next step, we will first look at a pair of Scripture passages that reveal our intended destination, Father’s goal for His children.
As we look at the first Scripture passage, notice the goal Father has set for us:
And the LORD shewed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes: 23 And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers. (Deuteronomy 6:22-23)
In the above passage, Father shows us one of His purposes for bringing us out of the bondage of sin, seen prophetically in the above passage as ‘Egypt.’ Notice that He brought us out, so that He might bring us in to the Promised Land!
In the same way that Joshua led the Israelites in to the Promised Land in their day, so our prophetic ‘Joshua’ [Yahushua the Messiah] will personally lead us in, in our day. As we walk with Him, He will lead us in, and we will enter with Him.
In order to walk with Him, however, we must first be in agreement with Messiah, and we must be willing to walk in the paths He walks in. Our willingness to walk with Messiah, even into unfamiliar territory, requires our ultimate trust in Him, which means we must fully believe in Him.
And as we walk along with Him after He saves us, if we should stumble and commit a sin, He assures us of this:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just [righteous] to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1John 1:9)
The above verse (1John 1:9) is an important promise to remember. At any time after we are saved initially, if we should sin, this verse tells us what we should do. If we confess our sins [acknowledge our sins to God, and ask His forgiveness], He is faithful and Righteous to forgive us of our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
What do we do when we stumble, and fall into the mud of sin? Like children learning to walk, we clean ourselves off through God’s forgiveness, then get back up again, and resume walking.
Our heavenly Father’s purpose is for us to walk with Him, have fellowship with Him, and receive of His abundant blessings. He desires only that we be open and honest before Him, and to be cleansed of our sins, so that we will be able to walk with Him in His path each day.
Thus in seeing Father’s purpose, we now see our goal: that we might truly and fully believe in Yahushua Messiah, learning how to walk with Him — and to learn how to abide [‘remain’] in Messiah, so that we might continue to walk with Him, and ultimately enter in with Him.
Three Steps to Achieve Our Goal
There is a single Scripture passage giving us a broad overview of the three steps our Heavenly Father exhorts us to take. It is by taking these three steps, that we reach our goal. Let’s notice the following passage:
My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways. (Proverbs 23:26)
In the above passage, we see the three steps we are to take, in learning to walk with Yahushua Messiah. These three steps are:
- My son…
- Give me your heart…
- Let your eyes observe my ways.
For those who choose to truly believe Messiah, to know Him, walk with Him, and enter the Promised Land with Him, these three steps are vital.
With this in mind, we will now look closely at each of the steps seen in this passage.
Notice that the above passage is addressed to ‘My son.’ Here we see that Father’s plan pertains only to those who are Born-Again, and as a result are now His sons. The only way one may enter this Kingdom is to be born into it, that is, to become born spiritually.
We are born spiritually, and become His son, when we first repent, and become converted. In this step we become saved, or Born-Again, whereby Yahushua [Jesus] is birthed within us. At this moment we become a member of Father’s household. He then gives us a hunger for reading His word, just as a newborn baby craves milk.
In this first step, Father redeems us, based only by our faith in His Blood for the forgiveness of our sins, and we are saved without any ‘works’ of our own (Romans 3:25; Titus 3:5).
This is the stage in which He tells all people, “I love you so much, that I gave up my life, so that you could live!” (John 3:16; 1John 4:10; Galatians 2:20).
Give me your Heart
Now notice the son is exhorted to ‘give me your heart.’
After we have become sons, Yahushua invites us to give our heart to Him. Notice how we are to do this, seen in the following passages:
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:29-30)
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)
In the above passages, Yahushua invites us to take His yoke upon us. In Scripture, a yoke speaks prophetically of bondage. Thus we see that Messiah is inviting us to become a bond-servant to Him as our new Master, as a replacement for our previous master, which was sin. The choice of becoming a servant to the Master is an act of love detailed in Scripture in Exodus 21:5-6, and is a choice all must make, who would desire to be among Yahushua’s Disciples. To take His yoke is to give Him our heart.
Servants are seen in Scripture as those who are obedient to their masters. The apostle Paul tells us that the identity of our true ‘master’ is revealed by what or whom we obey — either sin [transgression of Torah (1John 3:4)] leading to death, or obedience [of Torah] leading to [the fruit of] righteousness (Romans 6:16).
As we see in the Romans 12:1-2 passage above, we are also invited to present ourselves as a living sacrifice, whereby we tell Yahuweh, ‘not my will, but your will be done.’ We see in this passage that in order to accomplish this, we must not conform to the ways of the world, but must renew our minds.
We begin this renewal by studying the Scriptures, and then putting into practice what they say.
Notice also that as part of Father’s New and Everlasting Covenant, there is to be no element of force or compulsion for anyone to be obedient to Father’s commandments. Instead, there is only inviting, beseeching, and exhorting. Father’s desire is to see who loves Him, and love can not exist where there is forced obedience.
Give me your Heart: Our Response
Our first actions of giving Him our heart, in response to His invitation, can be seen in the following passages. These Scripture examples are there for us to follow:
And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: (Matthew 3:16)
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. (Mark 16:16)
John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: (Luke 3:16)
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luke 11:13)
And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. (John 1:33)
He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. (Acts 19:2)
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)
Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. (Colossians 2:12)
The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: (1Peter 3:21)
As our response in this step, we see in the collection of passages above, that we are to be baptised [‘immersed’] in water, and we must also seek to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Either experience may occur first, according to Scripture.
As an important part of our testimony, we identify ourselves with Messiah’s death, burial, and resurrection in a personal way, when we are baptised in water. Baptism in water and in the Holy Spirit are mentioned here in the second step, to emphasise the truth that these actions are done in obedience to the Word of Yahuweh, and have nothing to do with the forgiveness of our sins. We find forgiveness of sins only by faith in His Blood, without any works on our part.
As we continue to walk with Him, and commit ourselves to Him, He continues to speak to us daily, drawing us to Himself, in an ever-closer walk with Him. This closeness with our heavenly Father comes as a result of giving Him our heart.
This is the stage in which He tells each of us personally, “I love you!”
Let Your Eyes Observe My Ways
The first two steps or stages were initial steps, and momentary in time. They occur at a specific time and place, just as the day of ones birth marks a moment in time. The last stage, however, is a life-long process of learning Father’s Ways. This is where many Believers today have not yet walked. They are still at the first or second stage.
Here is where we are exhorted to learn, and to walk in the ways of Yahuweh. Here is where we learn to do those things in which He delights, and to forsake those things He considers abomination. Here is where we learn to become a “DO-er” of the Scriptures, His written instructions.
Here is where we learn to walk in obedience to His Torah. We recall that Father’s Law [Torah] is His written ‘instructions’ for His people, and the “house rules” for His Family. In its broadest sense, Father’s instructions consist of all of the Words of Scripture, from Genesis through Revelation (Isaiah 8:20; Matt 4:4; Luke 4:4; 2Tim 3:16).
We must keep in mind, however, that our obedience to Father’s Torah is not for the purpose of Salvation, but is only a result of our salvation. We choose to obey His Torah, only because we desire to walk as He walked (1John 2:6), to be holy as He is holy (1Peter 1:15), and to love Him in the way He has told us (John 14:15; John 15:10; 1John 5:2-3; 2John 1:6).
This stage reveals exactly what the Jerusalem Council in Acts chapter 15 decided should be told to the new Believers, and is the Scripture basis for what was said to them:
Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: 20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols (Exodus 34:15; Rev 2:20), and from fornication (Exodus 20:14), and from things strangled (Deuteronomy 14:21), and from blood (Leviticus 3:17). 21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. (Acts 15:19-21)
Here we see the apostles and elders warning that the New Believers should abstain from certain activities. Notice that each of these items is a Torah requirement. These are the bare minimum from which new Believers are to abstain, that would allow them to remain in fellowship with other Believers, while they grow in their understanding of Father’s ways, by attending the synagogue [the ‘gathering’ or ‘assembly’] every sabbath day.
We are told that these minimum guidelines were given to gentile Believers, because [so that] as new Believers, they could continue to attend synagogue [the ‘assembly’] where Moses is taught each Sabbath day. Notice that in the above Scripture passages in Acts chapter 15 [and also in chapter 21], the apostles and elders confirm for us that it is Moses’ teachings the new Believers are to learn every Sabbath day. Let’s see why this is true.
We must ask, “What is the significance of Moses’ teachings?” First, it is Moses’ teachings that reveal Father’s Ways.
Let us notice the following passages:
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:11)
I, even I, am the LORD <03068> [Yahuweh]; and beside me there is no saviour. (Isaiah 43:11)
Yet I am the LORD <03068> [Yahuweh] thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me. (Hosea 13:4)
After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. (Genesis 15:1)
And Moses commanded the children of Israel according to the word of the LORD, saying, The tribe of the sons of Joseph hath said well. (Numbers 36:5)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:1, 14)
In the above passages, we must first determine the identity of the Saviour, and the identity of the WORD of Yahuweh. We must ask ourselves, “Who is Yahushua Messiah?”
As the above passages illustrate, our Saviour, Messiah Yahushua, is none other than Yahuweh Himself, who came to earth to become born as our Messiah Yahushua.
And the WORD of Yahuweh, who appeared to Abram, and who gave the Commandments to Moses, is none other than Messiah Himself, who became flesh, and dwelt among us!
And so if we desire to learn Father’s ways, we must learn Messiah’s ways — which are described in the words Messiah gave to Moses, to give to us.
And so in order to learn Father’s Ways, we must first come to know Messiah as The WAY (John 14:6). But before we can know Him as the WAY, we must first know Him as the Saviour, and as the WORD of Yahuweh.
When we begin to obey the WORD of Yahuweh, Messiah then opens our eyes somewhat. We then begin to realise that it was Messiah Himself, as the WORD of Yahuweh, who gave the words to Moses!
Thus to be a “DO-er” of Moses’ words, is to be a “DO-er” of Messiah’s Words. To be a “DO-er” of Moses’ commandments, is to be a “DO-er” of Messiah’s commandments. It is Yahushua Messiah who continues to cry out to us, “If you love me, keep ‘My’ Commandments” (John 14:15). Selah! [pause, and think about this!]
Today, there are many Bible teachers, and their followers, who are not learning the ways of Yahuweh. Perhaps they have confused the first steps of salvation and commitment to Messiah, with the last step of observing, and walking in His ways.
Walking in His Ways
After Messiah cleanses us by His Blood, and forgives us, He then desires to live His life within us. He thus desires that we would observe Father’s ways, and then learn and do Father’s ways, so that we may walk with Him, in Father’s paths, as He lives within us.
What are some of Father’s ways?
We learn Father’s ways by doing exactly what Yahushua did, and by avoiding what Yahushua avoided, as revealed in the Scriptures.
What did Messiah do 2,000 years ago? A short list of what Messiah did, and what Messiah avoided, as our example of walking in Father’s ways, has been presented and discussed in WWYD? What Would Yahushua Do?.
Some of these are:
What Did Yahushua Do?
- He did not His own will, but the Father’s will (Luke 22:42)
- He was immersed [‘baptised’] in water (Matt 3:16)
- He was filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1)
- He was led by the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1)
- He showed His love for His Father, by keeping His Father’s commandments (John 15:10)
- He kept [observe, guard, preserve, keep; the Hebrew word is ‘watch’] His Father’s Sabbath Days (Mark 13:37, 14:14; Luke 4:16)
- He observed His Father’s ‘true’ Passover (Luke 22:11; John 18:28)
- He kept His Father’s Feast Days (John 7:10)
What Did Yahushua Avoid?
- He avoided keeping the pagan sun-worship rituals in their many forms [x-mas, easter, saturnalia]
- He avoided other pagan religious ritual celebrations [birthdays, valentines, lent]
- He avoided becoming ensnared by the Commandments of Men, and the Doctrines of Men
- He avoided practicing the Dogmas [Decrees] of Men, holding instead to living in obedience to His Father’s Torah.
The lists above show us some of Yahushua’s ways. Some may ask, “How can I begin to observe, and to learn His Ways?” Let’s address this question.
How Do I Begin to Walk in Father’s Ways?
It is never too late to begin to learn from Messiah. We must first remember that everything of value is accomplished only by His Grace, the enablement He gives us for obedience, when He dwells within us. This means that Messiah Himself gives us everything we need to obey Him.
For our part, we simply cooperate with Him, by removing the stumbling-blocks, such as false teachings and man-made religious traditions. These stumbling-blocks prevent us from following Messiah’s example, and they become obstacles to our walking along with Messiah, in His path.
We can begin by personally seeking Messiah in the Scriptures (Jeremiah 29:13), and by prayer. It is good to read the Psalms, by ‘praying’ them to Yahuweh. Also read Psalms 119 carefully! Ask Father for that which King David requested (Psalms 119:18); and also do what Yahuweh told the prophet Jeremiah to do (Jeremiah 33:3).
We are exhorted to follow Messiah’s example of learning, in becoming obedient to Moses’ words. In the same way that Messiah was baptised, we too are to become immersed in water [‘baptised’], as identifying with Messiah’s death, burial, and resurrection. Find someone else with whom to participate in this important testimony and witness.
We might also want to seek for fellowship with others that are already walking in Messiah’s ways. There are many local congregations in the larger cities, and even a few in some of the smaller towns and rural villages.
For those without access to fellowship with others, there are also some live, online fellowship broadcasts, having teaching and instruction, and some with call-in prayers, questions, and comments. See one or more references for these in the Links page, and look for other sources online.
There are many ways of Messiah that appear ‘Jewish’ and are foreign to most gentiles, but they are Messiah’s ways, and are not exclusive to one group of people or religion. One of these is the celebration of Yahuweh’s weekly Sabbath day. Read the Scriptures to find out how to observe Father’s Sabbath days in a Scriptural way.
Note that the weekly Sabbath is the first of Father’s commanded Feast days, as He tells us in (Leviticus 23:2-3). We should take note that various religions have their own sabbath days, but they are not MY Sabbaths, as Father calls them. Father also tells us that by keeping His house rules and His Sabbaths, we are enabled to truly know Him (Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 20:12,20).
Another of Father’s ways is to attend His annual Biblical Festivals, or Appointed Times. These include Pesach [Passover], Shavuot [Pentecost], and Sukkot [Feast of Tabernacles].
These Festivals are joyous times of refreshing that Father has set-apart for His children to gather together, times in which many families come together for fellowship and instruction, to rejoice together, and to learn of Messiah.
All of Father’s ways are ways of righteousness, mercy and truth; and they reveal His way of nurturing us, so that we learn how to walk according to His Word.
This last step of observing, learning, and walking in Father’s ways, is the step in which we tell Father, “I love you” (John 14:15). This step requires a lifetime in which to learn, and to grow in obedience to His Word.
We need only to remember that Messiah is with us, as we yearn to walk in His Ways, as we take the next step!
and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” (Rev 3:3)