On Steve’s blog , he recently wrote a post entitled “Just Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Master and . . . Wait.” In response, “grouchyfarmer” commented … and I responded.
grouchyfarmer: The whole “saved by faith alone” thing was always so diametrically opposed to what Jesus actually taught that I always had difficulty understanding how anybody bought into that idea. As the verse from Matthew specifically states you are judged by what you do, not by what you believe, or at least not just by what you believe.
Me: I think you hit the proverbial nail, GF. In today’s Christian world it is ALL about “belief.” You must “believe” to be saved and you must maintain that “belief” throughout the rest of your life or be condemned to a fiery hell. The ACTIONS Jesus said should go along with that “belief” are, for the most part, conveniently ignored in the believer’s rush to teach others to .. you guessed it … believe.
As many of us are more than abundantly aware, the common response from Christians to the misfortunes of others is to send “thoughts and prayers.” (This is not to discount the religious organizations that truly provide help and assistance to those in need, but in this instance, I’m referring to individuals.) Yet all throughout the bible are teachings that tell God’s people to take care of others through ACTIONS …
Feed the hungry … Give drink to the thirsty … Clothe the naked … Care for the sick
More frequently, however, we instead find believers using the power of WORDS to reach others for their Christ: witnessing, preaching, blogging, writing books, etc.
One wonders … have they forgotten that very clear scripture in gMatthew where the writer talks about what it will take to “inherit the kingdom”:
Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
And to take it a step further, what about the admonition from John in the Book of Revelation:
Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.
Instead, it seems many believers rely more on the words of Paul in the book of Ephesians:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
There’s no argument that in today’s world it is difficult to find the time to help others, yet based on the book that believers follow, this is exactly what Jesus taught.
Of course, for those of us who have no interest in the teachings of Jesus (or any other religious guru), our efforts towards helping others are not prompted by religious beliefs. We do it because it’s the human thing to do.