Friday, March 28, 2008

Do good deeds for salvation, be with Christ.......Not!

Here's a little conversation that took place over at Doorman-Priest's blog between myself and a guest host (Mimi) at his site. My comments in blue and Mimi's in red.

Mimi - May I call you Mimi?

You said - “We are saved; the whole creation is saved,” by the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, whom the God of love called forth from the grave to give us new life.Could you clarify that for me please? What do you mean 'we are saved'?Are you speaking of Christians only? or, everyone?What does it mean for all of creation to be saved?


Waynedawg, of course you may call me Mimi.

The passage that comes to mind to help explain what I mean is from Romans 8:18I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. (Mimi cites Romans 8:18-25)

In my humble opinion (my opinion only, that of a simple pew warmer), when Jesus established his kingdom he included the whole of creation, not just humans.

By "saved" I mean that we were brought into the kingdom, the not yet perfected kingdom, in which we see only "through a glass darkly" until the kingdom in its fullness and perfection is realized in all its glory, the new heaven and the new earth, the dwelling place of God.

Jesus calls us to join with him to work to bring about the kingdom of God in the present, because the present is all we have. By our words and by our deeds, he calls us to live out the two Great Commandments, to love God above all and to love our neighbor as ourselves. He reminds us often in the Gospels of our role as servants in the present kingdom. He asks us to serve, rather than wait to be served.

I believe that the the kingdom will not be exclusively "Christian", in the conventional meaning in which the label is used - whatever conventional meaning you choose for your own.I hope this answers your questions, Wayne. I wish to make it clear that these are my views, not Doorman-Priest's views.I thank you for your questions, because answering them helped me to clarify my own thinking.

Mimi - Thanks for the response!

I'm not able to get on-line as much as I would like over the past week or I'm a little late reading your response.

I love that verse of Scripture. It's ashame that all of creation became a burden to our sin and that creatures have to 'groan' because of our sin nature.

I agree with your comments until you said...."I believe that the the kingdom will not be exclusively "Christian", in the conventional meaning in which the label is used - whatever conventional meaning you choose for your own."

I'm not sure really what that means...but I have always understood the term 'Christian' to mean 'Little Christ' or 'One who follows Christ'.

I mean that in the sense that the person is 'Born-Again like Jesus said we must be in order to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. The Holy Spirit now lives in the changed person and now he desires not to do the things that are contrary to the Word of God.To be a Christian is to have a longing to be with Christ, fellowship with Him and in all one does, to bring glory to Him.

Wayne, I believe that anyone who lives a life of self-giving, a life of loving selflessly, a life of service to others, a life of sacrificing for others is Christ-like and a follower of Jesus, whether they know it or not, or whether they proclaim it or not.

It's not so much about proclaiming to be a Christian by words, as by demonstrating a Christ-like way of life.I believe that the kingdom of God is much broader than we can ever imagine.

If that is so Mimi, then we make Christ out as a liar and Scripture is in error.

Wayne, then we disagree, and I will not engage in further argument with you.

Peace to you.

So, in essence, Mimi concludes that a follower of Christ is not someone who has been Born-Again as Jesus say’s one must be in order to inherit the Kingdom of God (John 3:3), rather, she say’s that all one has to do to go to Heaven and be saved is to lead a life of self giving, lead a life of loving selflessly, a life of service to others, sacrifice for others and, whether they know it or not or proclaim it or not, they are a Christian.

Wow –

It’s the same as saying, “my good works and deeds are enough to earn me a spot with the Master for eternity.”

Isaiah 64:6 immediately comes to mind here……But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Filthy rags. Actually, the correct translation would be likened to a menstrual cloth that women use when they are on their period. (Sorry for the image you just imagined, but now you understand how disgusting our unsaved ‘works’ are to God when we try to merit salvation based on our deeds.)

It’s only God’s grace that saves us and nothing else folks (Eph 2:8-9). These people that think doing good works will earn salvation will hear some very disappointing words on Judgment Day…..

Matt 7:21 - “Not every one that says unto me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but one that does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

What is the will of God for those seeking salvation?

2 Pet 3:9 - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

God wants us to repent and trust the Gospel (Matt 3:2, Matt 4:17, Matt 9:13, Mark 1:15, Mark 6:12, Luke 5:32, Luke 13:3, Acts name a few)

Once we repent and put our trust in Christ to save us, He will. He will turn a blind eye to all who try to buy their way into Heaven with their good deeds and works. He will look upon their deeds as filthy, dirty and disgusting rags and will cast them into the Lake of Fire.

Be not deceived.


Joseph A. said...

How can someone possibly get these concepts out of Scripture? It's virtually the exact opposite of what Christ himself said.

It's interesting that she was no longer willing to discuss the topic with you. Very interesting...

You came out and said the straight truth in one sentence, and she bailed on the conversation. :(

There isn't anything to disagree about on this matter because opinion on either side doesn't matter. This is not a matter of opinion. Acknowledge the truth, and do not "interpret" the Scriptures to your liking, people.

If you think you can earn your way to Heaven, a.k.a. PERFECTION so to speak, you've just ousted Christ off the throne of your life and reduced his entire existence to utter meaninglessness.

the Reverend boy said...

I think Mimi's point is that some people do and follow the will of God and they don't realize it. I don't think she would say there is any way we can earn our way into heaven. We have changed hearts, and therefore we do the will of God because we cannot help ourselves.

It's entirely possible to be born again and live a life devoted to social justice, isn't it?

Roland said...

I agree with Reverend Boy.
She isn't saying that they are relying on their good works at all.
Simple misinterpretation.
Happens all the time.

I've had the same thing happen with Brian Culver.
I will not be stopping back.
It's sad.
I think he really is earnest about reaching others for Christ.
I also think that he will not believe anyone else can do it unless they do it the way he does.

But I like that you put a post up about the subject.
You didn't get an answer and seem to be seeking it.
That is good, if it be so.

pastorbrianculver said...

Scripture does not lie! You did a great job Waynedawg! It is sad when people rely on feelings rather than on the Truth of God's Word. I have an email that I will be sending to you soon to shed some light on a few things. I hope your day is going well for you.

God bless

Doorman-Priest said...

Thanks, Wayne. I'll be following that up in a post myself soon. As it turned out, much of last week at Vicar school was spent looking at Christian Witness in a plural World and as soon as I've processed it all I'll put some thoughts together.

Remeber though, as I've told you before and as I am sure others are keen to tell you, I am evil incarnate.

WayneDawg said...

Rev Boy and Roland - I politely disagree with your defense of Mimi. If you ask her, I believe she will say, that one does not have to be born-again (like Jesus said) to be a Christian. Because she would not follow up with any more discussion on the subject is a strong indicator of her position that she already commented on.

Pastor Brian – Thank you.

DP – I look forward to reading your thoughts from Vicor School.

BTW – I fear no evil……..evil fears me!

Doorman-Priest said...

On reflection - although I am sure she can speak for herself - Mimi's position does represent Orthodox Catholic teaching and that was her childhood upbringing.

I know I carry a lot of my Evangelical past into radical liberalism. A lot of us are hard to categorise.

First thoughts on Vicar school up and running.

God Bless and good to be back.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Waynedawg, I see that you've done a whole post on our conversation. I thought that I'd say a few words to let you know where I'm coming from. I am a member of the Episcopal Church now, but for the greater part of my life I was a Roman Catholic.

During my 17 years if RC schooling we were taught of the baptism of desire. Here is the definition from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

"The baptism of desire (baptismus flaminis) is a perfect contrition of heart, and every act of perfect charity or pure love of God which contains, at least implicitly, a desire (votum) of baptism. The Latin word flamen is used because Flamen is a name for the Holy Ghost, Whose special office it is to move the heart to love God and to conceive penitence for sin."

Perhaps the teaching was in the back of my mind when I said this to you at DP's blog, Wayne:

"Wayne, I believe that anyone who lives a life of self-giving, a life of loving selflessly, a life of service to others, a life of sacrificing for others is Christ-like and a follower of Jesus, whether they know it or not, or whether they proclaim it or not.

It's not so much about proclaiming to be a Christian by words, as by demonstrating a Christ-like way of life.

I believe that the kingdom of God is much broader than we can ever imagine."

Here's the link to the Catholic Encyclopedia article.

Peace to you, Wayne.

the Reverend boy said...

I actually agree with Pastor Bryan when he says that Scripture doesn't lie. However, the truth Scripture tells us is not always the truth we think it is.

I would go so far as to say that all Christians are "born again" because they participate in the new life given by Christ and sustained by the Holy Spirit. Even those radically liberal Christians.

pastorbrianculver said...

We can know what the Scriptures say as being Truth when we compare it to the rest of Scripture as a whole. The Scriptures are consistent from Genesis to Revelation. There is no confusion when we cross reference and do a proper expositing of God's Word.

WayneDawg said...

Mimi, thank you for stopping by.

I posted our conversation here on my blog for two reasons;

1) You ended any further discussion on the subject between me and you; and that’s cool, really.

2) I can post as much as I want to here without bogging down another blog.

Mimi – I guess with me, it all comes down to this; do you agree or disagree with Jesus when He said, “You must be born again to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”?

Because, you know Mimi, that those who are perishing and going to Hell are fully capable of doing good deeds and charitable works. What I’m saying, I guess, evil people can still do good works that appear righteous, but, in the end, that person is still headed to Hell.

All the good works in the world cannot and will not save that person.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Wayne, you've been nice, even though you don't agree with me. I thank you for that. Jesus is my savior, and I'm willing to trust him as to my place in the hereafter, just as I'm willing to trust him to walk with me through each day on this good earth.

the Reverend boy said...

I think what we are experiencing here are two very different ways of perceiving the Christian life.

The answer to our impasse may lie in how we answer the questions, "Why do we embrace the Christian faith? Why do we call Jesus as Lord and Saviour?"

Being born again, I would say, does not simply mean having a personal experience of Salvation, but also to a call of new life given to us by God which includes a very grounded sense of ethics ... it is social justice as well as personal experience. One does not negate the other.

pastorbrianculver said...

A person "must" be born-again. When I used to be a Mormon, I would say the exact thing that Mimi just said, I would tell people that my trust was in Jesus and that He was my Lord and Savior. I would tell people that I knew He would forgive me of all my sins because I asked him to forgive me. But it wasn't until I was born-again, that I realized the difference. When the Bible tells us to "believe" in Jesus, it is more than just an intellectual belief. It is a belief that carries with it a desire to follow Him, a desire to be obedient to His Word and a desire to keep His Commands. When we do that, we become a new creature in Christ. We put off our old self and we no longer desire to sin, we no longer accept all sin as being acceptable, even no longer accept even certain sins to be acceptable. We hate sin like God hates sin. I used to "say" all the right things when I was a Mormon. Even when I first became a "christian." But it wasn't until I put off the old self and put my faith and trust completely in Him and became obedient to His Word, that I could fianlly say I was a Christian!

WayneDawg said...

Thank you Mimi, you have also been very nice and courteous.

I totally agree with Pastor Brian here. Being born-again is having a personal experience of salvation; I had one.

When God saved me on October 29th, 1994 at around 8:30 in the evening, there was no question what happened to me that night. I had taken my family to a Billy Graham crusade because my mom wanted to go. No other reason. I packed up the family, drove to Atlanta and minded my own business when we got there.

I listened to the music. I watched the people sing. I even tapped my toe a time or two to the beat.

But then something started happening when Billy Graham started preaching. At first I didn’t pay it any mind. Then he started talking about sin. What sin was about and how it offended God. He then told us about a Judgment Day in which I would have to pay for my sins. He talked about how if my name was not in the Lamb’s Book of Life that I would spend eternity in Hell. Then he told us of what Christ did for us so we could be forgiven of our sins and live eternity in Heaven.

Then an alter call was given. I don’t even remember leaving my seat in the upper section of the Georgia Dome. I found myself on the 50 yard line and met by a little old man named Arthur Steele. Mr. Steele looked me straight in the eye and asked me why I was down here.

I just looked at him. What, I said? He said it again – Why are you down here? I looked him straight in the eye and told him that I was lost and headed for Hell. This is what he said to me – Wayne; you get down on your knees and pray. He told me to repent of my sins and ask God to forgive me.

He did not pray a prayer for me to repeat back to him. He told me to pray (something that is missing in today’s churches). I got on my knees and prayed the best I knew how. I could here him praying right beside me. I don’t know how long I was there, but when I got up……..I was different. Black and white different.

Mr. Steele hug me and gave me the Gospel of John booklet for me to go home and read. I read it that night. When I got to the 3rd chapter and read what Jesus told Nicodemus about being born again it freaked me out. Why? Because that was exactly what happened to me on the 50 yard line of the Georgia Dome. I had become born again - The old man was gone and behold, a new creature in Christ had emerged.

I went to work that Monday and started telling people what happened to me Saturday night. Most looked at me like I was a one man freak show. But one guy, Fred, took me under his wing and started a Bible study at work to help me grow. We met everyday for a month as we went back through the book of John; verse by verse.

I could not get enough of the Scriptures. I got baptized at a local church and joined that fellowship. That was 14 years ago this coming October. I have fallen a few times during my walk with Christ but the Father has been quick to discipline and correct me back to the narrow path.

I end this brief testimony where I started……….I had a personal experience of salvation. Very personal……if I couldn’t look back on a particular day and say, “This is where the Lord saved me.”, I don’t know that I could walk day in and day out without wondering whether or not I was saved.

It’s because of that personal experience of God reaching out and saving me by His awesome and undeserving grace that I can tell you that you must be born again to be forgiven of sins and have absolute assurance of eternal life with the Lord.

Doorman-Priest said...

I love reading other people's testimonies. I also have a date and time. Mine is in 1972!

I was, of course, an infant in arms.

I wish!

Grandmère Mimi said...

The day I was saved is oldest of all - 1934. I was an infant, too. But whenever someone is baptized in my church, we reaffirm our faith in Jesus Christ. We say the following words:

The Baptismal Covenant

Do you believe in God the Father?

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.


Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God?

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.

He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.


Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit?

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.


Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?


I will, with God’s help.


Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord.

I will, with God’s help.


Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?

I will, with God’s help.


Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?

I will, with God’s help.


Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?

I will, with God’s help.

That's from the "Book of Common Prayer", which we use in the Episcopal Church in the US.

pastorbrianculver said...

that is a great testimony Wayne! The first time when I considered myself to be a christian (still living in my sins), I never had that "aha" moment when I finally "got it!" Just like you, when it hit me, it was powerful and life changing!

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