COMMANDMENTS, TEACHINGS, AND SALVATION
We seem to have a lot of "onlies" in Christiandom. Some of them may even be true.
I shudder when I think of "Easy Believism". The objective seems to be to induce the aisle walk and the "sinner's prayer", when the great commission says we're supposed to make disciples, and teach them to obey all things Jesus commanded. Well, maybe "objective" is too strong a word; perhaps that's just the way it works out in practice.
Random thought: in the business world, what happens when someone has a great idea that doesn't produce the desired results? Let's say the training program for a manufacturer produces folks who pass all the tests, but then only half of them show up for work. Or maybe the ones who do, half of them cannot actually do the work. What would management do?
You bet they would. They'd change the training.
Now, as Baptists, we've had CWT, and F.A.I.T.H., and myriad other programs, but year after year, we clone what we already have. Complete with 30% or 40% attendance, 80% of the giving coming from 20% of the people, ditto for the work, and percentages of divorce and teen pregnancy that look too much like the world. If that's ok, then so be it, but I suspect it's not.
One would think the Bible would address this, and indeed, it does. Most famous is James 2. I hear preaching and teaching on faith without works being dead, but I less frequently hear verse 23, which says a man is justfied by what he does, and not by faith alone!
Well, maybe "justified" isn't necessary to be saved, ok? So I looked it up. According to my computer bible program, that word means to be rendered, or regarded as, just or innocent.
Wow. Isn't that what salvation is? To be found innocent of our sin, because Jesus was found guilty?
OK .. but aren't commandments Old Testament stuff? I could say that ... but Jesus said some things that upset that thought, for me. In John 14, He made two separate statements that bear thought, especially together. One is that people who love Him will obey His commands. The other, a few verses later, is that people who love Him will obey His teaching. That paints a whole different picture in my mind.
The bottom line for me is that the only way I can know that I'm saved is if my heart is to obey what God commands, even down to all that Jesus has taught. And when I don't, my heart's desire is that the Holy Ghost would get my attention pronto, and make me conform.
I know this stuff is for personal application, and I try not to think of the Bible as telling me what somebody else is supposed to do. But when I see the actions, of some people in authority, that have been reported by Wade Burleson and Ben Cole, I have to think something is drastically wrong, somewhere.
What people do, and how they behave, is important! And that applies to everyone.
Jesus also said you'd know us by the love we show for one another. And love means LOVE, not "self-sacrifice".
Conforming to the image of Jesus is a life-long journey. But the trip is a hoot, and the destination's even better. I suspect it'll be worth whatever it takes.