Is There a Deadline for Good Deeds?

Repentance and choosing to do right is something that has real meaning only now.

D.Thomas Lancaster

Tikkun Olam

free will good deeds mitzvah repentance World to Come Yeshua

What’s it going to be like after the resurrection? Nothing in this world compares to the bliss of entering into the eternal reward of the World to Come.

In that place of “springs of living water,” God “will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). The sages say “one hour of the bliss of the World to Come is better than the entire life of this world.”

Despite that, there is one thing in this world that is even better than the whole World to Come:

One hour of repentance and good deeds in this world is better than the entire life of the World to Come; and one hour of spiritual bliss in the World to Come than the entire life of this World. (m.Avot 4:21)

How can a single hour in this world be better than the infinite delights of Eden? Because in the World to Come, repentance and good deeds don’t have real value.

Sin is possible only in this existence. When we enter the World to Come, we will still retain our free will, so perhaps the potential for sin still exists, but in practical terms, there is no sin, because we will be like the angels who behold the infinite light of God. Then we will be one in purpose, will, and spirit with God, filled with infinite light, creatures of light who find no allure in darkness.

In the World to Come, every tongue will confess him, and all creatures will serve him, but in this world, the path of repentance and good deeds requires a leap of faith and sacrifice of the will. That’s why repentance and choosing to do right is something that has real meaning only now.

That also explains why the repentance message is central to Yeshua’s gospel message. Yeshua had only one main sermon and teaching, and it’s the same teaching he told his disciples to present: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Matthew 4:17). He told his disciples that he had been sent only to declare that message (Luke 4:43).

In a Jewish religious context, “repentance” means to quit breaking God’s commandments, turn around, and start obeying them. Sin is transgression of Torah.

This message is obvious when we read the Gospels from a Jewish perspective. The vast majority of Yeshua’s teachings and parables circle the theme of repentance.

Likewise, the Apostle Paul called the Gentiles to repentance. He described his mission saying that he “declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance” (Acts 26:20).

We can’t afford to procrastinate with repentance. Do it now, while it still counts for something. Do it while it still counts for something greater than the whole life of the World to Come.

About the Author

D. Thomas Lancaster is Director of Education at First Fruits of Zion, the author of the Torah Club programs and several books and study programs. He is also the pastor of Beth Immanuel Sabbath Fellowship in Hudson, WI.

Tikkun Olam

free will good deeds mitzvah repentance World to Come Yeshua

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