Summary: Many church leaders say all we have to do is invite Jesus into our heart and we can do anything we like with the rest of our life without any concern of where we will spend eternity!.
The "GRACE" Question
If we ask Jesus to come into our heart are we saved not matter what we do with the rest of our life?
Will we see the open arms of Jesus if he comes back while we are molesting a 5 year old?
Will the angels bid us upward as we lift a cigarette from the seared flesh of an infant?
A large part of the Christian community believes we can do those horrible things and God will smile upon us as we greet him at the gates of heaven. They say God's grace will allow us to do whatever we want without jeopardizing our salvation because we are saved by faith and not by works (Eph 2:8-13)!
Does one moment of faith allow us to pimp out 12 year old little girls or abuse our spouse with no fear of meeting God on our special day?
Many church leaders say all we have to do is invite Jesus into our heart and we can do anything we like with the rest of our life without any concern of where we will spend eternity!
Of course they do not advocate such behavior and suggest we may risk some earthly repercussions but in the end if Jesus appeared in the sky and we are standing in a field covered with blood from dismembering the arms and legs of our wife and loving mother of three they say the angels of heaven will be rejoicing as we join them in the clouds.
Their explanation for these shameful acts, “God is love”!
Does God's love turn a blind eye to continued acts of maliciousness?
One day God's chosen people decided to rebel against him so he opened the ground and swallowed them up (Num 16:28-34). He is the same God of love then as he is now!
Is God’s love an open door to live the rest of our life in rebellion? Did Jesus provided a way for Christian’s to leave this life a menace to society? Those who believe this say it is a gift from God (Eph 2:8)!
They say our actions have no influence on our eternal destination whether good or bad.
Others suggest these horrible acts are an indicator they were never saved in the first place. If we judge based on actions wouldn’t that contradict works not playing a part in our salvation?
If they were never saved in the first place why are they told they are giving them a false sense of security with the risk of lying to them?
Is it reasonable to think a Christian who dies committing horrible crimes against mankind has more favor with God than a person who does not profess to be a Christian and gives their entire life to charity and helping the poor?
Has our desire for a religion to do whatever we want stripped us of all reason? Is this what God stands for?
The answer is no! It is not what God stands for and he warns us of those who twist his grace to allow for such behavior (Jude 1:4).
Jesus said many will claim him as Lord and talk about the things they did in his name but their confession of him as Lord will not save them (Matt 7:21-23).
What is the answer?
James the brother of Jesus takes issue with those who do not believe works plays a part in our salvation. He asks the question can faith without works save us (James 2:14)?
How do we align James’s question with Paul’s letter to the Ephesians which says...
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Eph 2:8-13).
Let’s look closely to what Paul is saying...
“By grace” …God graciously made a way for us to be saved! No man from the beginning of time has ever been saved by merit alone (Prov 21:3, Psalms 51:16-17) it has always been by God’s favor (Gen 6:8, Prov 3:34, Esth 2:17) upon his creation and our belief in him (Rom 4:3, Heb 11:6).
“Through faith” ... The source of everything we do must come from faith in God (Rom 1:17)! The life he has for us is unobtainable unless we believe him. James answers his question “can faith without works save us (James 2:14)” by saying faith without works is useless (James 2:17-20). He goes on to say a person is justified by works and not faith alone (James 2:24). Works actually completes our faith (James 2:22).
"Not of yourselves" ... We must not have confidence in ourselves. God’s ways are far above our ways and can only be reached by having confidence in him.