This blog for me is all about clarifying common misconceptions about the Bible. For this post, I would like to first address a common misconception from those who do not know much about God. And second, I would like to address a common misconception from the Christian’s point of view.
First, I would like to address how people who do not know much about God may think they will be going to heaven as long as they feel they were a good person. First, let me point out that God judges us on completely different standards than we judge ourselves. He can only allow perfection into heaven, and since none of us are perfect he can only allow us into His kingdom if we are forgiven. We can only be forgiven if we ask to be forgiven and we are sorry for what we have done wrong.
It’s like when someone has wronged you; let’s say they lied to you about something. When they came and apologized to you they were insincere and then lied to you again a few days later. How would you feel about that? When we come to God and ask for forgiveness, it needs to be sincere and we need to mean it, because he knows our heart as soon as we ask! Asking for His forgiveness cannot be just empty words; it has to be a promise to do better. Does that mean we won’t mess up again? Probably not, but He will know your heart and He will know when/if you make a mistake.
David Thomas: I’m just tired of feeling guilty.
Nathan Hayes: Let me break it to you this way, you ARE guilty. Listen: One day, you, me, and every one of us are gonna have to stand before God, and he’s gonna do what good judges do.
David Thomas: Well, then l hope my good outweighs my bad, Nathan.
Nathan Hayes: That’s not the way it works. You know that. Let me put it this way. Who’s the person you’re closest to?
David Thomas: Probably my mom.
Nathan Hayes: Okay. Suppose she was brutally attacked and murdered in a parking lot. The guy was caught and put on trial. But he says, “Hey, judge, I committed this crime, but I’ve done a lot of good in my life.” If the judge let him go free, would you say he was a good or a bad judge?
David Thomas: A bad one.
Nathan Hayes: That’s right. The Bible says that God is a good judge and will punish the guilty not for what they did right, but for what they did wrong. Because he loved us, he sent his son, Jesus Christ, to take the punishment that we deserve and put it on Himself. And that’s why he died on the cross. But it only applies if you accept it. That’s why I asked for his forgiveness. I asked him to save me. And l’m a new man because of Christ.
Ephesians 2:8-9: 8. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God 9. not by works, so that no one can boast.
Now I would like to talk about the Christian’s perspective. A Christian who knows all of this that I have just said, will sometimes say, “well it says in the Bible I am saved through faith, not through works, so this means there is no point for me to worry about doing good deeds.” Ah, yes, you are not saved by your deeds, I will agree to that. But let me give you some food for thought. Did you know there is an entire book in the Bible centered on how it is necessary for Christians to do good deeds? I challenge you to read the book of James if you haven’t already. Let me just quote some scripture from there.
James 2:24: You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
James 2:26: As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
James 2:18-19: 18. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith BY my deeds. 19. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.
Now, what is all of this saying? It is saying that if you have true faith/belief in God and you are saved through Jesus, that you will take a step of faith and do whatever it is He calls you to do. If God calls you as a Christian to do something, and you do not do it, then where is your faith?
I challenge you today by asking you, what has God put on your heart? Put your faith to work!