Posted by: musingsofthemund | January 14, 2012

My Current Dilemma

Some things that have been rolling around in my head.

Does knowing Jesus cause a change in your life? I’m not talking just about the way you think about things. Does knowing Jesus change the way you act, the way you behave? Now break it down a step further. Does knowing Jesus change the way you act toward yourself? Toward your family? Toward your friends? Toward a stranger? Toward your enemy? Toward the poor? Toward the rich?

If there is a deficiency of change in the way you act toward any of those groups, then I have to question if you really know Jesus, for what good is it to know about Jesus and to think differently because of Jesus if it doesn’t change the way you act toward those around you. Following Jesus isn’t supposed to be easy. His burden is light and His yoke is easy, but it doesn’t change the fact that He called us to come and die. To daily take up our crosses in the process of following Him. It isn’t an optional step.

So I ask again. How is your life different because of Jesus? Because if you’re only an intellectual Christian, growing in insight or knowledge, but not growing in action or deed, then is your faith worth anything?

It is taught that you cannot be saved by your works, that any effort you give to make yourself good enough for God by His standards will fall short. That is pretty irrefutable as it’s pretty clearly seen in scripture. But I also see a Jesus in scripture who says that the branch IN HIM that does not produce fruit will be cut off and thrown into the fire. I see a Jesus who tells a story about sheep and goats, a metaphor for those who are and aren’t going to heaven, and those who aren’t going are in that position because they didn’t serve their fellow man, and thus denied service to Jesus Himself. I see a Jesus who told a story about servants and their ability to manage talents (a monetary sum in that day), and the one who did nothing with what was entrusted to him while his master was gone had everything taken away and was thrown out to the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.

We’re supposed to be saved by faith, not works, but at the same time faith without works is dead so which is it? It seems like both are a requirement. It seems like faith gets you in the door, but works keep you there. Faith without works is dead. If faith is dead, does that mean it’s not (or perhaps no longer) there? Seems to me that all that means that faith has to be more than a statement, it’s a deed. Demonstrated by acts and works. So many out there strive to make the gospel so accessible and easy and ignore the fact that there is a cost to receiving it. That you don’t have to do anything. But you have to have faith. And once there, you have to spend the rest of your life proving that you have faith, or so it seems to me. I don’t know how to reconcile the teaching of the all-sufficiency of Christ with what Christ Himself said about the kingdom of heaven. Jesus said many would come to Him, telling Him of what they did in His name and that His response would be to cast them out of His presence because He didn’t know them.

Honestly, I don’t understand this faith which I profess. It seems to me like you can’t earn your way into Heaven by works, but you can damn yourself with a lack of them. The only conclusion I can come to in this right now is that one: I don’t get it and two: I’m not doing it right.

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Responses

  1. The Narrow and Wide Gates

    13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
    My thoughts.

    “Because if you’re only an intellectual Christian, growing in insight or knowledge, but not growing in action or deed, then is your faith worth anything?” — I have a question, neither of these seem to really be talking about any relational aspect of knowing Jesus (love). When you truly love someone, isn’t it easier to go out of the way to do anything for them. Aren’t we more willing to do things for those we love, things we wouldn’t normally do for others. We don’t usually do things with a bitter attitude out of love. John14:15 “If you love me, keep my commands.” Whatever we do for Jesus should be out of love not obligation. I mean Jesus tells us to love and serve others. How can we serve them with love if we don’t love them?

    God’s Love and Ours
    1 John 4
    7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

    I know we have been hearing this so much but it doesn’t change the truth of God: Greatest commandment and 2nd Greatest: Love the Lord your God with every aspect of you and love your neighbor as yourself.

    If JESUS actually gave us THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT, I think He’s trying to tell us it is important and we should pay attention. Just saying.
    Loving God 1st and foremost from what I hear is supposed to cause us to love others and want to obey God. Which makes sense logically, does it not? It is out of joy we are supposed to obey and serve God, not just so we can not be damned to hell… the point is loving God. He already died for us and saved us, how do we respond to that though? If we are accepting that gift then like the parable of the talents we better use it. If we don’t use it we don’t care enough to use it, right?

    …. Faith, Hope, Love….but the Greatest of these is Love. (1 Corinthians 13)

    • So is it a matter, then, of many Christians being liars who claim to love God but clearly don’t? If love for God is supposed to motivate our actions then it certainly sounds like if our actions aren’t being motivated to change, or if we aren’t doing those things that Christ says we would do if we loved Him, we don’t love Him at all…

      • That is the point I was getting at.

  2. Bam! We have a nervous system that lets our bodies know where something is wrong, and we have the Spirit of God to poke holes in man-made doctrine.

    Jesus didn’t say: “hey, here it all is. Seeya.” Rather, his great gospel was “Seek and you will find,” and “there’s a lot I can’t tell you right now–wait, and the Holy Spirit will.”

  3. I was also reading this passage some. Is the fruit pertaining to false prophets more than us?
    A Tree and Its Fruit

    15 “Beware of the (L)false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are (M)ravenous wolves. 16 You will [k](N)know them by their fruits. [l]Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 So (O)every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 (P)Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will [m]know them (Q)by their fruits.
    21 “(R)Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 (S)Many will say to Me on (T)that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many [n]miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; (U)DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

  4. Here’s what I find cool about this: admitting you don’t get it and are doing it wrong puts you in the place where God can really use you. This is exactly why He is using you to encourage others and inspire others to pursue more than just lip service- to go out and live like Jesus. The fruit of that encouragement may not yet be evident but it shall be seen in due season. I love you’re at this place of brokenness, humility and even lostness. That is waht makes you so awesome in the Lord- full of Him!

  5. May I please enter a thought here? “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2

    D


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