“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
– John 17:3
Let me begin by saying something I’ve said and written more times than I can count.
Salvation comes only through faith in Jesus the Messiah, the one and only Redeemer, repentance of our sins and the grace He bestows on those who follow Him. There is no other way to eternal life.
I preface this commentary because there are some out there who persist in distorting my beliefs, the things I say and even what I write in plainspoken English.
One of the most egregious smears and distortions by these professional, yet anonymous, apostasy watchers, who remind me of the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, is that I believe in salvation by works.
It is a lie from hell.
Like many who make outrageous claims like this about others, they often confuse the desire to be obedient to the actual instructions of Jesus with a salvation-by-works theology. They apparently believe that the law and grace are opposites, rather than two different kinds of gifts of God – one teaching us how to live this life and another offering life eternal.
This statement from a past column really got them upset:
“There’s only one way to achieve immortality, and that’s to follow the prescription of our Creator. Follow His commandments, repent when you fall short, and love Him with all your heart, soul and mind. The nice thing about this recipe is that it works every time.”
That, these unnamed malefactors see as “salvation by self-effort.”
The thing is, salvation is a two-way street. It’s not granted unless you seek it. It does require repentance. And Jesus would tell those He forgave, “Go and sin no more.”
Yet, I’m accused by these critics of having “aberrant Christian beliefs.” They take issue with the word “achieve” in my first sentence. Maybe that was a bad choice of words, but we must follow the prescription of the Creator – who is, of course, Jesus. (John 1) He instructs us to follow His commandments (the Torah). He tells us to repent. And He tells us to love Him with all your heart, soul and mind.
So, I guess I’m being nitpicked over the word “achieve.”
“Where is Jesus in any of this?” asked the mudslinger.
Well, Jesus is Our Creator. He wrote all the commandments. He’s the One to whom we repent when we fall. He’s our only Redeemer and our Mediator. And He’s the one we love with all our heart, soul and mind. So, He’s everywhere in that.
It was also suggested in this screed against me that Jesus didn’t mention the commandments in connection with life. But indeed He did, in Matthew 19:17: “And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”
He also said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)
He also said He will call you friend “if ye do whatsoever I command you.” (John 15:14)
I choose to do my best, even it requires some (dare I say it?) effort, and even though I fall short, to keep the commandments.
By the way, I’m sure glad Jesus is my Redeemer, Mediator and Lord and not these modern-day Pharisees who set up themselves as judges of the brethren with shameless charges of “apostasy” and “heresy” where none exists.
They never apologize. They never follow the prescriptions of Mathew 18. They never relent. They just attack with their holier-than-thou slurs.