2004-03-22 - Balancing Eternity
Mark 16:16, "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved, but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned."
I am stealing the topic idea from John Piper's recently published paperback titled, "The Passion of Jesus Christ." The content is my own, but when I was reading this week, the topic jumped out at me. The small book gives 50 reasons why Christ died in the scope of 50, 1 1/2 page chapters. Chapter seven is titled, "To cancel the legal demands of the law against us." In this chapter he refutes the belief that if our good works outweigh our bad works we will enter heaven. James 2:10 refutes this view, "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all." While Piper does not use this verse (there are many more very similar), he does mention something that I fear many have wrongly adopted.
Many view judgment as a weighing of the scales. On one side is our good works, and on the other side our bad works...as long as we are good enough we will enter Heaven. Scripture refutes this. Even if we only have one sin against us, we still need the atonement of Christ to save us. This makes the holiest person in the world, without Christ, to be no better than the mass murderer on death row who remains unrepentant, and without the grace of God offered in Christ.
My roommate in college was a Muslim who believed in the scale theory. He said that salvation rested in God weighing the scales and even if your good deeds did not weigh more than your bad deeds, if you are a good Muslim, God will always "tip" the scales in your favor. The Christian can never take this view, because without Christ, the Christian has no hope. Without Christ being the propitiation between God the Father and our sins, there is not only a lack of scales, there is a lack of any chance of salvation from our sins. My fear is that many who profess faith as Christians take the view that they are moral people and therefore good enough to enter Heaven. No one will ever be good enough to enter Heaven, and without Christ there will be many who take this view who will be unpleasantly surprised on that great day.
This is why we speak of Christ, and Christ alone. This is why we speak of Christ often, because apart from Christ there is no hope. With Christ, sins you have ever wondered, "Can His atonement really reach this deep?" are all crucified with Him and graciously forgiven for those who rest fully in His meritorious sacrifice.
For all of us, our relationship with Jesus Christ is something that we must nurture and cultivate. This is the one area in which we do not want to be mistaken. We are not a reading society anymore, but we must make ourselves students of God's Holy Word. I would urge you not to take my word on salvation and our need for assurance of faith, but rather search the Scriptures and see if these things are true. You can do nothing greater for yourself than to gain a working knowledge of the teachings of the Bible, and the issue of salvation in Christ is the most important topic to become an expert in.
Soli Deo Gloria,