Wednesday, January 30, 2013

1 John 3:23-24

And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

Love is the rule. Faith is the pre-requisite. Love without faith in Jesus is purposeless. There is no price tag on heaven. There is no waiting line to get in. There is no check-sheet you must accomplish to earn it. There is only one way. Ironically, the one thing that we need to be able to get into heaven is actually based on the premise that we aren’t doing anything. In spite of a culture and a natural mindset often of “I must accomplish”, when it comes to heaven, the “I must accomplish” mentality must get checked at the door. Ephesians 2:8 says that we are saved “by grace…through faith.” God saves us, based upon nothing that we have done, but simply because we believe in the accomplishments of Jesus as our only hope and chance of salvation. When we get to 1 John 3, John doesn’t miss the golden opportunity to rightly shape the theology of those who have been following his teaching over the last several paragraphs. Often, Christian groups make “being a Christian” about everything except for the one true thing that “being a Christian” is. They get enamored by strategies and programs that will guarantee larger church congregations. They emphasize community involvement with their members. They set up donation centers where people can give their time, money, or goods to the poor. They love, and love, and love, but they forget the central reason behind all of it…that men can come to a saving knowledge of Jesus. That others can come and not just get a full belly, or a new coat, or a new pen, but rather that others can come and be eternally saved by the truth of Jesus. Sadly, many well-meaning people are so blinded by the gleam of their good works that they miss the necessity of their faith in Jesus. Depending eternally on their involvement and faithfulness, they become some of the kindest people in hell. God’s prerequisite is still faith. Live with love, from a heart of confident faith in Jesus. Realize that your love is a reflection of His. Understand that the primary purpose for your actions of love is that the pre-requisite of faith may take place in the hearts of others and that ultimately they may see your good works and glorify the Father by them.

Food For Thought: What must someone do to go to heaven? In a proper understanding of theology, where do good works come in?