Sunday, September 21, 2008

Saved by grace or works?

"Are you going to heaven?"

"Uh," I turned around, the noise of the fair behind me. "I plan on it."

The kid looked about 22, wearing a t-shirt and holding a paper-covered box that said something like "What you need to know about heaven".

"So you've accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior?"

"Absolutely," I said without hesitating -- understanding that was probably the fastest way out of that interchange, given that I didn't have much confidence that the answers I was seeking at that point in my life were going to be found in his cardboard box.

For some reason he didn't seem satisfied with my response, but I smiled politely and kept walking. I bet if I'd stopped and told him I was Mormon I bet he would've had a lot more to say, but our kids' fuses were already short and we were almost out the gates.

I do find it odd how aggressively some churches hold to this doctrine of "accepting Jesus" as the only criteria for salvation (from Romans 10:9), and discard all the references to "works", even those from Paul himself, including in the next verse where he says "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness" -- can you be righteous without doing anything good? (another example from Paul)

Do they really mean to imply that with a simple vocalized "acceptance", I can be assured of salvation and then live as sinfully as I like? It's certainly an attractive teaching, understandably popular.

I only bring this up because I found this today:

For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. - Matthew 16:27

There are dozens of scriptures on this (that I'll happily share if anyone cares), but for those confused by it, perhaps consider this approach:
Jesus Christ took upon himself the punishment for all of our sins, and all that He requires is that we turn to him and repent of our sins and do our very best as long as we live -- then his grace makes up the rest.
From that perspective, all the scriptures seem to make sense to me and be consistent with each other.

Hopefully one of the 2 people who actually read my blog will benefit from that. =)


George said...

Well said! I've looked over some of your previous posts as well, and there are is a lot of good stuff here. Keep it up!

Ashley Harris said...

Bryan! Truly, thank you so much for posting this! I soooo needed this about 2 yrs ago, but I can still work with it. Have a great day!

bryan said...

Wow, thanks guys. *Both* people who read my blog liked it! =)

Does anyone read this thing?

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