Many Christians may wonder ‘how do Jewish people believe that gentiles will have a place in heaven?’ In other words, ‘what do the gentiles need to do in order to be right before God?’ The Seven Noahide laws are what the Jewish rabbis have taught as to how Gentiles can be made righteous. (Again, this is their thinking, not ours)….. They believe that Genesis 9 contains God’s instructions to Noah and his family after the flood about some fundamental laws that all Gentiles need to follow. And they have ‘extracted’ from Genesis (and we use that term loosely) these seven laws that are binding upon all non-Jewish humanity.
The Seven Laws of Noah are also referred to as the Noahide Laws or the Noachide Laws (from the English transliteration of the Hebrew pronunciation of ‘Noah’), and are traditionally these:
- Do not murder
- Do not steal
- Do not worship idols
- Do not curse God
- Do not be sexually immoral
- Do not eat the limb removed from a live animalSet up courts and bring offenders to justice
They believe, according to Talmidic rabbinical writers, that any non-Jew who adheres to these laws is regarded as a righteous gentile, and is assured of a place in the world to come (Hebrew: עולם הבא Olam Haba), the final reward of righteous people.
Even The United States Congress (the 102nd Congress) recognized the Noahide Laws! In March of 1991, it passed the ‘Education Day’ Bill – part of which stated: u.s._congress ‘Whereas Congress recognizes the historical tradition of ethical values and principles which are the basis of civilized society and upon which our great Nation was founded; Whereas these ethical values and principles have been the bedrock of society from the dawn of civilization, when they were known as the Seven Noahide Laws….’
So is this really what the Bible teaches? It is ‘good works’ (the 7 Noahide Laws) that save gentiles and make them righteous? No. The only righteous people are those who have Messiah’s righteousness ‘imputed’ to them. It is a gift. We are saved by grace, not works. In other words – No one is righteous by themselves. This is clearly what the scriptures teach. ‘For there is not a just man upon earth, that does good, and sins not.’ (Ecclesiastes 7:20) TheJewish apostle Paul says the same thing ‘No one is righteous–not even one.’ (Romans 3:10) When we accept Messiah – then and only then, do we become righteous. Not because we are righteous, but because a ‘Righteous One’ now lives inside our heart. ….‘the glorious riches of this mystery, which is [Messiah] in you, the hope of glory.’ (Colossians 1:27) That is, the gospel (good news) – believers are 100% righteous only because the Messiah lives in us, not by following Noahide laws – for no one has followed God’s laws perfectly their whole life.
It is like this – I could NEVER walk up to the White House and just meander right in. I would be stopped in a heartbeat. BUT if I had someone WITH ME (like a congressman) who was invited, then I could get in based upon me being with him. And that is the gospel. No one can gain heaven by themselves. But if we have the Messiah WITH US – then we can walk right in! It is a gift! You can never be good enough to earn it. When we ‘accept’ the Lord into our hearts, He really does come inside and live in us. We get His righteousness ‘credited’ to our account.
So without Messiah – all are going to be judged by God because all have sinned. (Romans 3)… So can anyone be ‘saved’ by obeying the laws of Noah (if they even exist)? The question is pointless because no adult has been able to keep all the laws perfectly. We have all sinned. And atonement for sin comes through the death of a substitute. That was the point of the whole Mosaic sacrificial system. Ultimately, Messiah is our substitute. (Isaiah 53). That is how we are saved from our sins. Hallelujah.