It all started with the reading of Revelation 22:12 in our Thursday night Bible Study at our church…
“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.”
There was immediately emphasis given to the last part of the verse… “I will give to everyone according to what he has done.”
It was then i found myself saying in my mind, “oh boy HERE we go!” with the extreme sarcasm i often battle with. I beat myself up sometimes because I get upset and bothered by legalistic views i find so often in church settings, yet at the same time, as i recently heard a friend share, i too prayed, “Lord remove the log from my own eye so that it doesn’t cause splinters in the eyes of those around me.”
I don’t want to go off on a rant here because that would not do any good. However, i do want whoever may be reading this to understand i can not stand when people try to heap laws and requirements on those who believe. Can i stop there? I’ll try.
So anyway, i thought for sure people were going to go on to talk about what we must do to be saved and show a list of do’s and don’ts and show verse after verse of what people need to be doing in order to ‘be saved’.
I was sure that someone was going to talk about what people need to be doing to go to heaven or even be ready when Jesus comes back.
I braced myself for the load of scriptures that were about to be used to drill home how if we are not doing certain things we are not saved and not going to heaven.
Then the verses came:
1 Corinthians 3:11-15 NIV
11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
Jude 1:21-13 NIV
21Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
22Be merciful to those who doubt;
23snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear–hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
John 6:28-29 NIV
28Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
29Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
Oh what a relief that although i feel and many others have shared that they feel some church Bible studies, let alone the “church” in generally speaking term takes such a vigorous stance on what people need to do to become a Christian and get to heaven these verse could not be bent or manipulate by anyone. They were simple and beautifully the truth of God’s Word.
I have always gone back to John 3 for my own clarity and when telling others who show an interest or just point blank ask about becoming a Christian.
What better example do we have than The Lord Jesus Christ? When Nicodemus (a prominent religious man) came up to Jesus and admits knowing that Jesus came from God. Jesus replies, “no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” Then Nicodemus tries to wrap his head around what Jesus means by this and they go back an forth over this a little while (Jesus being patient). Then Jesus says something that to this day many people know by heart but no every one takes to heart. John 3:16
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
It all starts with believing in, not just of Jesus Christ. When a person sincerely believe in Christ and ‘accepts’ Him it is THEN the The Holy Spirit comes in and changes that person and even then the things they do are not some religious duty but come from a sincere faith and love relationship with Christ.
We know that we can walk away from this relationship at any time. We can get distracted and choose to live according to our own desires and forget about Christ being our Lord and Master. We CAN do that at any point. I think we would like to say we believe one time and boom we are magically heaven bound.
I think the dilemma is that we accept this free gift of salvation when we believe in God, can’t earn it and yet at the same time come to recognize God is looking to connect with us and have regular fellowship with us. The reality is that in a good relationship the two must be in a two way love affair. So believers are not living only out of obligation but in a love obligation. Not some religious duty or list of do’s and don’ts but an on going faith being built and developed and it all starts with simple belief.
IF this is helpful and you want to ‘grow on’
and or to the index along these same notes at: