Tag Archives: salvation

Faith IN Works, or Faith THAT Works?

[CLICK HERE to listen to this week’s lesson]

[CLICK HERE to get the PowerPoint]


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.” John 3:16 [emphasis mine]

“All you have to do to be saved is believe. All you have to do is acknowledge that Jesus existed – that He lived, died, and rose again, and you’ll be saved.”

I’ve heard that message a lot. I remember listening to the radio as I was driving in Tampa a few years ago, and the broadcaster (his name escapes me) said, “If you have ever believed in God – even if it was just for a split second – you will be saved even if you don’t believe in Him now! 2 Timothy 2:13 says that if we are faithless God will remain faithful, and John 3:16 says …”

I was a brand new Christian at the time. As soon as I got home, I looked up the Scripture the guy on the radio quoted, and was a little confused as to why he hadn’t quoted the verses immediately preceding it … check it out:

“Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” 2 Timothy 2:11-13 [emphasis mine]

Yikes – what that guy was saying verse 13 meant didn’t mesh at all with verse 12, yet he was sharing his version of the message with thousands of listeners. I wonder how many bought it?

Martin Luther

I presented a lesson this past week on faith that works from James 1:21-25 and 2:14-26 (see also Hebrews 11; Matthew 7:21-29; John 14:15-24, 15:10; 2 John 1:6; Revelation 20:12)- something that broadcaster apparently hadn’t thought about much.

Did you know that Reformation leader Martin Luther hated the book of James? He called it an epistle of straw because he thought it contained a message of works-based salvation. In other words, Martin Luther thought the New Testament epistle of James taught people they had to earn their salvation – that they had to be ‘good enough’ for God to love them.

Luther did a whole lot of good for Christianity in general, but he completely missed the ball when it came to the book of James. That’s because Luther didn’t have the best understanding of what faith in Jesus really is.

So let’s ask the questions:

What is faith? Is faith simply a mental belief? Am I really saved if I mentally believe in God, mentally believe that Jesus is His Son, but neglect to follow His teachings? Do I really have faith if I refuse to obey?

I share what I think in the lesson – what do you think?

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Notes From the Pepperdine Lectures – Curt Sparks

Notes from Curt Sparks’ keynote speech – “You Have Died With Christ” covering Colossians 2:16-23 – Thursday 7PM.

  • Starts presentation by playing a clip from The Sixth Sense – little kid saying “I see dead people … walking around like regular people – they don’t see each other – they only see what they want to see – they don’t know they’re dead!”
  • Paul is saying the same thing in Colossians 2 – he sees people who’ve died, only they’re walking around living like everyone else not realizing they’d died to their old way of life!
  • Colossians 2:12 and Romans 6:1-14  link becoming a Christian to dying to your old way of life and allowing Christ to live through you. Paul taught and modeled this (Galatians 2:20).
  • The “philosophy” mentioned in Colossians 2 rejected the work of Jesus on the Cross by adding to it. Teaching “Jesus + _______” as a path to salvation rejects the effectiveness of Jesus’ dying for our sins on the cross. Jesus does not need help from another religion or spiritual philosophy to save people. In fact, to add to the message of Jesus is to destroy it.
  • Working for your salvation leads to arrogance, pride, and a spirit of exclusiveness  – that is, the people doing the works will be the ones saying who’s in and who’s out (case in point: the Pharisees).
  • This “philosophy” in Colossae was an approach to religion based on fear and superstition likely tied to a folk religion. The people needed to understand that Jesus had already taken care of any dark powers present and they needn’t worry about them.
  • For the people in Colossae, it wasn’t the getting it (being saved) that was the issue – it was keeping it (staying saved) that was the issue. Voices were telling them “you must do x, y, or z to stay saved” – the x, y, or z was tied to folk religion or paganism.
  • Things like this still occur today – denominations and faith tribes have set up “markers” – there are certain things you must teach or do in order to be deemed “saved”
  • Many Churches of Christ have set up markers like this – there’s an entire platform you must carry, and if you change one point of it “you’re out!”
  • “We should no longer be offended for God when God is not offended!”  (Amen to that!)
  • “Living in fear of retribution does not equal abundant life!” (Amen to that too!)

Great stuff! Listen to more of Curt’s preaching by clicking here.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Advertisements