Some people view Christianity as a license to sin:
"But people like the easy sinful nature of Christianity which adopts the impression:
"Jesus died on the cross for us, to save us from the hardships and hellfire, therefore no matter what we do (cheat, steal, commit adultery, hurt others = LIVE A SINFUL LIFE), our sins will be forgiven. Therefore do what the hell you want and you will still go to heaven. This is your pathetic methadology which is just stupid!!!"
There are without doubt Christian teachers who focus on "getting people saved", but neglect to teach how to live life as a Christian. While they have good intentions, they are not following the Bible if they do not also emphasize the cost of being a disciple of Jesus, as he himself did:
25Now great multitudes went with him. He turned and said to them, 26"If any man comes to me, and doesn't hate his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he can't be my disciple. 27Whoever doesn't bear his own cross, and come after me, can't be my disciple. 28For which of you, desiring to build a tower, doesn't first sit down and count the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it? 29Or perhaps, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, everyone who sees begins to mock him, 30saying, 'This man began to build, and wasn't able to finish.' 31Or what king, as he goes to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends an envoy, and asks for conditions of peace. 33So therefore whoever of you who doesn't renounce all that he has, he can't be my disciple.
Jesus didn't "water down" his message to gain more followers. He did not give in to the temptation of teaching an "easy" message to please the crowd. Jesus was completely focused on serving God, and expected his disciples to have the same attitude. So he turned to them and explained the high cost of being a disciple.
Jesus explained that to be his disciple, they could let nothing stand in their way, including family and even their own life. He invited them (twice) to first sit down and count the cost of being a disciple, lest they start, and not finish, and everyone who sees begins to mock them. If they did not intend to follow through, they would be better off not even starting to be his disciple. Stated briefly, whoever of you who doesn't renounce all that he has, he can't be my disciple.
There is also another occasion when Jesus turned away a crowd that was not well motivated to serve God. It is recorded in John 6:26-66. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
Although Jesus expected his followers to do good works, he taught that it is not by good works that a person is saved.
9He spoke also this parable to certain people who were convinced of their own righteousness, and who despised all others. 10"Two men went up into the temple to pray; one was a Pharisee, and the other was a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood and prayed to himself like this: 'God, I thank you, that I am not like the rest of men, extortioners, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice in the week. I give tithes of all that I get.' 13But the tax collector, standing far away, wouldn't even lift up as his eyes to Heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' 14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other, for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."
Notice the key phrase in verse 14: [The tax collector] went down to his house justified rather than [the Pharisee]. If people were saved by their good works then it would be the Pharisee, not the tax collector, that would have been saved.
This passage shows that we are saved by God's mercy apart from our works. In fact, this concept is taught even more clearly in the following passage:
32There were also others, two criminals, led with him to be put to death...Nothing is known about these two thieves, but they must have been especially bad criminals to have received the extreme penalty of death by crucifixion. They find themselves in exactly the same situation, but their response is different. One chose to insult Jesus, and the other one asked for mercy.
39One of the criminals who was hanged insulted him, saying, "If you are the Christ, save yourself and us!"
40But the other answered, and rebuking him said, "Don't you even fear God, seeing you are in the same condemnation? 41And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong." 42He said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
43He said to him, "Most assuredly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
Luke 23:32, 39-43
The thief who repented cannot be accused of having done any good works, except perhaps that he tried to persuade the other thief. But the thief who repented received assurance that he would enter paradise.
The title is not just a verbal trick. It's really true. There is no faith without works, because faith produces works.
For example, there was the president of a large chemical company who believed that his pesticide was safe for humans. To demonstrate this, he went on national T.V. with a jar of his pesticide, and ate a big spoonful of it. He had faith that his pesticide was safe, and his works were in accordance with his faith.
On the other hand, suppose you are lost in the desert and want water. You find a sign that says, "Water: East 200 meters". You may say, "I believe 100% what this sign says. I can get water by walking 200 meters East. I believe with all my heart," but if you walk South, you are demonstrating with your actions that you really do not have faith in what the sign says.
In the same way, if you say you have faith in Jesus, but do not follow his teachings, then you are demonstrating that you really do not have faith in Jesus. By doing evil works, you show that your heart is evil and you are not saved.
You may say,
"I have faith, so I can keep sinning!"
We say, "Show me your faith by your good works."
You may say,
"I can keep on sinning, and as long as I believe in Jesus I will be saved!"
46Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and don't do the things which I say? 47Everyone who comes to me, and hears my words, and does them, I will show you who he is like. 48He is like a man building a house, who dug and went deep, and laid a foundation on the rock. When a flood arose, the stream broke against that house, and could not shake it, because it was founded on the rock. 49But he who hears, and doesn't do, is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream broke, and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great."
Those who hear the words of Jesus and do what he says will survive the storm, but those who hear without doing will suffer ruin. And the ruin of that house was great.
Feel free to email me to discuss about this topic.
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