You don’t even realize how messed up Christianity is.

Hope Stands —  March 24, 2014 — 348 Comments
Image by AdeleInamine

Image by AdeleInamine

People like to make fun of Christianity, perhaps for its stance on gay marriage, evolution, or religious pluralism.  But, these are just the tip of the iceberg.  If you really want to see how messed up Christianity is, just consider one of its fundamental beliefs, the doctrine of justification.  Then you’ll see how bizarre it really is.  If you’re going to make fun of Christianity, you might as well hit it in its gut.

Let me explain.

You’ve found a new job.  You get ready for your first day, put on the right clothes, and show up to work.  Before you can punch in, your boss hands you a paycheck and says, “Here’s your pay for the year.  You don’t have to work for it.”

You’re starting a new class.  The teacher hands out the syllabus and explains what will be required of you.  Then she says, “By the way, I’ve already given you an A.  Congratulations.  Your grade does not depend on your work.”

You’re going to try out for the team, but before you walk out on to the field, the coach tells you, “I’ve selected you to be the captain.”

You want to be in the orchestra, but before you can play a single note to audition, the conductor says to you, “I’ve selected you for First Chair.”

You meet someone that you like, but before you can ask her out on a date, as she’s meeting you for the first time, she says to you, “I do!”  And you’re married.

You’re a Muslim and you want to earn God’s favor.  You know that you have to fulfill the five pillars of Islam.  But before you say a single prayer, your leader says to you, “You’ve already made it into Paradise.”

Can you imagine any of these ridiculous situations?  They all put “reward” before “work.”

You want to be a Christian, but before you can live obediently to the Bible, Jesus says to you, “I do.” 

Before you can perform the commandments, Jesus has given you righteousness and eternal life.

That’s how it was when I became a Christian.  Someone introduced me to Jesus one fall night, told me that he loved me and wanted to have a relationship with me for all eternity.  That’s intense!  Jesus didn’t even know me yet!  So I thought.  Don’t I have to do good things for him first?  Don’t I have to earn his love?  Just like every other situation?  Nope.  Will you marry me?

Do you realize how messed up Christianity is?  It messes up how this world operates by introducing a whole new economy.  It declares your spiritual bank account “full” before you’ve ever made a deposit.

This is a radical, retroactive religion, which works backwards, rather than forwards.  Everything else works forwards: you work and then earn the wages of your work.  But Christianity says, “The wages of our work is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).  That’s the doctrine of justification.

Are you sick of earning favor?  Why not start receiving favor?  Christianity stands alone.

Sam Kee is a husband, father, pastor, and author.

Sam Kee is a husband, father, pastor, and author.

 (Learn more in Soul Tattoo: A Life and Spirit Bearing the Marks of God, available for preorder now.)

Don’t forget to check out the follow up post, Part II, You still don’t realize…  

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348 responses to You don’t even realize how messed up Christianity is.

  1. 

    Before talking you really have to read the bible, Jesus died for all of us and he knows us because he is our God the son of man. He loves us unconditional that’s why he died. IDk who told you are righteous just when you come to the Lord. That’s a lie, you became righteous when you are BORN AGAIN, which means accepting Christ as Lord and Savior. All you said is completely wrong. I see you have a lot of time in your hand and may God forgive you.

    • 

      Jesus died and offered grace to everyone on this planet while we were still sinners. It’s up to us to extend the other hand and receive that forgiveness. Sam said that he did come to know Jesus and therefore was born again but was surprised that as soon as He came to know Jesus, He didn’t have to do anything to earn it. I think you might have read some of this incorrectly.

      • 

        thanks, Kirstyn! You are right, I did come to know and love Jesus, because he first loved me!

      • 

        Thank you

      • 

        Indeed Grace is offered to everyone.

        When you read the Bible ask The Lord to reveal revelation to you because there is more to what is actually written, that’s when you’ll start understanding & seeing things clearly & differently. Clearly people say they read the bible & quote scriptures & say the most used verse “My people perish because of lack of knowledge” when yes we need to know his word but there is no point when you have no deeper understand to what is actually been written in the bible. That is why it’s not about being a Christian it’s about having a personal relationship with God. All the Men of God had their own personal relationship with God that you read about in the Bible like Abraham, Moses, Paul etc… But people just read it & start preaching when they don’t even actually hear from God themselves & talk from their own understanding. It’s sad to see that we are actually living in the end times.

      • 

        Saira, I like your emphasis on “relationship.” Good stuff.

      • 

        Pastor Sam, thank you for your short article. This has made me re-think what it means by justification. I agree with you bringing the point of without any good deeds in us, God has saved us from our sins and death. However, I sincerely believe there are better examples to illustrate God’s love to us. I realized that justification is tightly related to the redeeming work of Christ for sinners. And the most important thing is that we sinners, were totally incapable of doing any good things before Christ saved and justified us. The examples sound more like those characters would have some knowledge and qualifications (that’s why they can attend class, they can think of going for audition, they can think of going for training session, etc.), while in fact we did not have any qualifications; we couldn’t even do anything good before God’s love touches us. I believe the inaccurate idea also has affected Kirstyn in the above post. Before God saved us, we couldn’t even think nor decide up to us whether we want to extend our hand and receive forgiveness from God. We were totally incapable, deprived. It’s 100% God’s grace that we can be saved, we can be forgiven, we can become the sons of God. For this reason, I have to disagree to the examples that you have brought up. Nevertheless, I am grateful that Christ has also shown forth His love and grace to you and fellow believers over there. I hope to see each other when we are gathered in front of the table of supper when Christ comes and rules His kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria.

      • 

        Darwin, yes, Soli Deo Gloria! As you know, all analogies fall short. I appreciate you pointing out where mine did. That way, people can see all the more that we are saved by grace. Anything that magnifies God’s grace and the cross is fine by me! Thanks and God bless! Oh, and where are you writing from?

      • 

        Pastor Sam, I am in Singapore. I read your article as it was being shared by my friend in FB. :)

      • 

        Again, great to hear from you! Yeah, there are quite a few thousand in Singapore who have been following along. God bless!

    • 

      Patricia you’re so overly religious that you’re taking slight semantics and blowing them up into something completely out of proportion. Minor semantic misperceptions aside the type of strict religious attitude here is exactly what pushes non Christians away. Christianity is not legalism in this way.

      • 

        good comment, Nomad.

      • 

        Well said, Nomad! :)

      • 

        Nomad, the bible never encourages us to lead people to God with half truths. It’s clear that the new type of christianity is the one that seeks to be world friendly. But searching the scriptures, you will realise it’s not the case. One MUST BE BORN AGAIN to be in the kingdom not just come (a form of lukewarmness), thats a deception. This is the creation of people who think they are in the Lord yet have not totally surrendered their lives to Christ. And with the conversion, bearing SPIRITUAL FRUIT is a necessity. Pse tell people the truth.

    • 

      i think the point the author is trying to make is that God sent his son to die for us without us doing anything to deserve it. True we do still need to accept that jesus died for us, like you need to accept the position of captain or first chair in the illustration, but his point is that God sent his son before we deserved it. I think that what he means by coming to the lord is entering a relationship with him and accepting jesus as your savior. The only way to come to the Lord is by accepting Jesus and being born again.

    • 

      Read it again, Especially this part : when I became a Christian, which mean he already knew Jesus… :)

      That’s how it was when I became a Christian. Someone introduced me to Jesus one fall night, told me that he loved me and wanted to have a relationship with me for all eternity. That’s intense! Jesus didn’t even know me yet! So I thought. Don’t I have to do good things for him first? Don’t I have to earn his love? Just like every other situation? Nope.

      • 

        This is quite an interesting discussion. I would like to add though where Pr Sam said “Jesus didn’t even know me yet. So I thought” I’m glad Jesus knows each of us before we are even born. His ways are definitely not our ways nor His thoughts our thoughts. All we have to do is trust and obey. There is no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey. Love Him deeply.

    • 

      “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

      For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” romans 10:9-10

      come on, being born again is simple!! :)

      coming to the lord already implies belief, and how hard is it to say something when you believe it? it’s simple! \o/

      • 

        That’s the point. The article is criticizing how easy it is. The author is suggesting that Christianity does not put responsibility on you to do good. You are saved without putting work in. True or not it is a terrible thing to model society after.

      • 

        You are egg-zackley right, Torri! IT IS “simple” to become born again! As a matter of fact, the LORD made it SO SIMPLE, that a small child could understand it, which is why my youngest daughter accepted JESUS as her personal LORD and Savior when she was at the young age of 3, and then followed up when she was 4 by asking to be baptized! It’s TRULY THAT EASY!
        As a matter of FACT, you could look at it like this:when JESUS Rose again from the dead, you might say He “created a personal escrow account” for each and every man, woman and child EVER created, starting with Adam and ending with the very LAST man, woman or child who will ever walk on the face of the earth, and each of these “escrow accounts” is filled with the grace needed to completely SAVE the person it was created for (and ONLY that person) from the point it is accessed to ALL ETERNITY, for that particular person! And the most amazing part of that escrow account is that it is a completely FREE GIFT from GOD to each of us! THERE IS no cost to it, NO “earning” of what it contains, and MOST importantly, NO WAY that ANY of us could EVER “DESERVE” it. from the richest of us to the most meager pauper, ALL receive the SAME GIFT, and that gift is Eternal Righteousness in the Sight of GOD and Eternal Grace from Him to us for the rest of eternity! FREE! COMPLETELY CLEAN in the Sight of GOD! FOREVERMORE! Praise JESUS for His Unspeakable Gift!
        (Needless to say, when I FINALLY understood what that principle of GOD REALLY MEANT I was SPEECHLESS for about half a day, and then spent the rest of that day feeling like I was walking around about 4 FEET OFF THE GROUND! And when I finally came “back to earth”, THAT’S when I realized that, “He’s GOD! WHY SHOULDN’T He be able to create a gift for His children that was BETTER than ANY gift anyone could EVER RECEIVE, and then make that Gift completely FREE, even though IT IS THE MOST VALUABLE THING ANYONE COULD EVER RECEIVE!?!) But that is EXACTLY what JESUS did FOR ALL OF US!

      • 

        Love your enthusiasm! Thank you!

      • 

        Easy!?! Salvation is IMPOSSIBLE.

        It’s as easy to be saved add it is for a blind man to see, a deaf man to hear, a lame man to walk, and a dead man to come out of his grave. Jesus said a person cannot even SEE the Kingdom of God unless he is born again (born from above). Paul wrote in 1cor2 that the natural man cannot understand or discern spiritual things. John said in jn1 that we are not born by the will or decision of man, but of God.

        Salvation is easy ??? No, salvation is impossible for man, and is completely and totally the work of, and gift of God.

    • 

      “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

      For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” romans 10:9-10

      come on, being born again is simple!! :)

      coming to the lord already implies belief, and how hard is it to say something when you believe it? it’s simple! \o/

      • 

        Whoops clicked too many times, you can remove this extra one :)

      • 

        Thanks, Torri! That’s a great Scripture.

      • 

        You are egg-zackley right, Torri! IT IS “simple” to become born again! As a matter of fact, the LORD made it SO SIMPLE, that a small child could understand it, which is why my youngest daughter accepted JESUS as her personal LORD and Savior when she was at the young age of 3, and then followed up when she was 4 by asking to be baptized! It’s TRULY THAT EASY!
        As a matter of FACT, you could look at it like this:when JESUS Rose again from the dead, you might say He “created a personal escrow account” for each and every man, woman and child EVER created, starting with Adam and ending with the very LAST man, woman or child who will ever walk on the face of the earth, and each of these “escrow accounts” is filled with the grace needed to completely SAVE the person it was created for (and ONLY that person) from the point it is accessed to ALL ETERNITY, for that particular person! And the most amazing part of that escrow account is that it is a completely FREE GIFT from GOD to each of us! THERE IS no cost to it, NO “earning” of what it contains, and MOST importantly, NO WAY that ANY of us could EVER “DESERVE” it. from the richest of us to the most meager pauper, ALL receive the SAME GIFT, and that gift is Eternal Righteousness in the Sight of GOD and Eternal Grace from Him to us for the rest of eternity! FREE! COMPLETELY CLEAN in the Sight of GOD! FOREVERMORE! Praise JESUS for His Unspeakable Gift!
        (Needless to say, when I FINALLY understood what that principle of GOD REALLY MEANT I was SPEECHLESS for about half a day, and then spent the rest of that day feeling like I was walking around about 4 FEET OFF THE GROUND! And when I finally came “back to earth”, THAT’S when I realized that, “He’s GOD! WHY SHOULDN’T He be able to create a gift for His children that was BETTER than ANY gift anyone could EVER RECEIVE, and then make that Gift completely FREE, even though IT IS THE MOST VALUABLE THING ANYONE COULD EVER RECEIVE!?!) But that is EXACTLY what JESUS did FOR ALL OF US!

        Torri, I’m not sure how it happened, but I originally posted my reply to this comment ABOVE your post, making it look like I was replying to “T. Ster” I was NOT replying to “T. Ster” but to you! I looked all over for a way to Delete my original reply but found none, so reposting it under your post and leaving it both places was the next best thing.
        (Just to set the record straight)
        Either way, GREAT POST!

    • 

      Typical

    • 

      Patricia, your comments are not intended for the encouragement and edification of a fellow brother in Christ. Please please please use caution in how you approach a disagreement with a brother

    • 

      Amen Jesus is the way the truth and the life he is alpha and omega the 1st and the last dont believe what people say for they could be false and may decieve for the devil will shift you as wheat trust in God who has no sin in him

    • 

      Patricia, you should reread Sam’s message. Here’s a little word for you.
      Christian, come down from your cross, pick it up, and carry it over to some who could use the wood.

    • 
      individual rights born from instinct March 29, 2014 at 10:27 am

      This is exactly how egotistical christians are. Died for ALL? 4200 religions in the world and one man with a freedom movement has the right to change all of them?

      • 

        Pleae ‘individual rights born from insticts’ Dont be an ignorant know it all. Just because you dont understand it and it does not hold true for you does not mean it does not hold true for others. I doubt any one has ever forced you to be saved by Christ or to believe in Him but to say its wrong because you dont understand it is ignorant and unfair. It would be the same as saying being gay is wrong just because you dont understand it. And egotistical? really? do u even understand that word? No one is forcing you to believe please but I think that us Christians have all the right in the world to believe in whatever it is we want to believe in whether you understand it or not and whether it makes sense to you or not. Please leave your ignorance far away from us and believe in whatever you like. I doubt you would like it if anyone called you egotistical for believing in what you want to believe. Stop insulting us because you dont understand our religion. Like you said there are 4200. if this one doesnt make sense I doubt anyone is chaining you to a church and forcing you to be christian. please try to make sense next time. thanks

      • 
        individual rights born from instinct March 30, 2014 at 2:36 pm

        Brainwashed at a young age were we? It’s almost comical…

    • 

      “he died for all of us”
      I hear this a LOT. why is this a big deal. according to legend, he “rose again” after 3 days. to me, that sounds about as important to the world as me getting a haircut. IT GROWS BACK, but in the case of Jesus, even quicker.

      “he loves us unconditionally”
      also brought up all the time, again, WTF. I believe unconditionally means without conditions……..like on the condition you only accept the 1 “true” god, or on the condition your not homosexual. is there a condition requiring unconditional belief?

      • 

        i encourage you to keep thinking about this. thanks for your comments!

      • 

        If you understood the Bible you would know that its just a few christians that take it upon themselves to be mean to homosexuals. So yes Unconditional means unconditional just because someone claims to be christian doesnt mean they are living as such just like just because someone claims to be a good person and does ‘good’ fdeeds doesnt make them good. its not rocket science

      • 

        “he died for all of us”, “he loves us unconditionally”. I used to struggle to understand what it all meant, and am still in the process of discovering what it all really means. I used to think it was all just a big show.

        Both Jesus’ death and Him being raised to life on the third day were part of a whole thing; you just can’t have one without the other. If He died and wasn’t raised to life, then perhaps he was a mere mortal and our sins weren’t really forgiven. Similarly, if He was raised to life without dying on the cross for our sin, then we would still not have forgiveness. Your hair can grow back; that’s great, so can mine. But the haircut and growing back doesn’t bring us any closer to forgiveness.

        Jesus was raised to life, to complete the victory over sin, allowing us to receive true forgiveness. “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57)

        He was raised to life also because of His unconditional love. He is in Heaven now, praying for us. “Who then will condemn us? No one–for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.”(Romans 8:34) He could have chose to bask in His glory, or be angry at the unrepentance of all of us sinners, but no, He is still thinking of you and I every day. I believe He loves homosexuals too, but not their homosexual acts. (Now let’s not get started on loving the person but not his actions, that’s another whole topic on it’s own)

        Finally, Jesus was raised to life so we could be set free to live transformed lives that demonstrate the power of the Gospel. “For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.” (Romans 6:4)

        I’m not sure about this, but I guess it is really unconditional, because He forgives us even when we fail and continue to sin. He knows that if we TRULY understood the meaning of His unconditional love, then we would really come to call upon His name and our lives would naturally be transformed in His love.

        Yup like I said, He loves us and will pursue us, even if we were the last sinner left on the face of the Earth(Luke 15:1-7). Be blessed:)

      • 

        Okay? Your parents can love you unconditionally, but you WILL be punished for your actions. The punishment worsens with authority. Sin against your friend? What can they do? They don’t hold that much authority on your life. The most that would happen is a lost friendship. Now, sin against your parents, who have a MUCH HIGHER authority in your life, and you would get grounded or disciplined. Now commit a sin like murder of the PRESIDENT and see the type of punishment you get. The punishment is (supposed to be) directly proportionate to the sin. Now, try sinning against the Creator of all things, and see what kind of punishment you’ll get.

      • 

        People love to bring up “God is a loving God.” like that is the only thing he is. Like he only has ONE attribute. God is also a just God. Also a merciful one. Also a jealous one. He’s many things. Don’t apply only one of his attributes to try to make your argument stand.

      • 

        LongHairBri,
        There is a huge difference between a haircut and the resurrection of Jesus. Everyone who gets a haircut has their hair grow back, (unfortunately except for me), but how many people do you know that have risen from the dead after 3 days? Of those numbers, how many of them had their life, death, and resurrection talked about for centuries before they ever came into existence? I would venture to guess, not a single one of them. But, Jesus was talked about by prophets for a very long time. So to reduce Jesus’ resurrection to the level of a simple haircut is insulting.

        And as for your comment about unconditional love, there is not a condition on His love that is based on homosexuality or anything like that. He still loves homosexuals, and sinners. That’s why the Bible says that Christ died for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). Now, just because He still loves the sinner, that does not mean he or we are to condone the sin. There are still consequences for our actions. Punishment does not equal lack of love. Judgment does not equal hate. Just like enabling someone to stumble does not equal love. There is a difference. Have a great day and week!

    • 

      Clearly none of you have read the full extent of the bible if you think it is wonderful and that it isn’t messed up. You’re wrong if you believe that. Just read the old testament. “Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation, for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God.” Jesus said this; Meaning you should stone your children if they are disobedient , cut off peoples body parts if they commit crime and also keep slaves. How many of you agree with this? Not many. And also we should kill all non-believer (Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists and Atheists). The whole book is full of nonsense that none of us should live our lives by. The laws of most christian countries make sense in a moral way and not because some almighty being told us so. I would not kill another person, nor commit adultery and I believe in no god. If you truly believe in god the next time your child is disobedient, if you have children, go and taken them to the elders of the village, town or city and have them stone your child to death because your lord and savior tells you to do so.

      • 

        thanks for your comments, Ross!

      • 

        Heyy Ross… Please don’t be ignorant and make comments about a book you know nothing about. I guess you deserve a round of applause for reading the old testament but read and understand the new testament will you please before making absolutely ridiculously ignorant statements like the one above. You base your conclusion on half of the book does that make any iota of sense to you Ross? Please use your brain a little bit further and understand the Book. I’m not gonna explain it to you because you seem perfectly capable of reading and i’m very sure that you’ve never seen a christian that said ‘lets go kill all the muslims’ so please please… if youre gonna criticize christians, at least be sensible about it. Thank you Ross

      • 

        i myself aren’t really familiar with the bible but i say this. if killing solve the problem we dont have to evangelise anymore do we? we dont need to spread the gospel anymore now do we? if you understand the bible more then i do. the islamic qulran is the same if you kill other religion because of this…..God say repent from sin not slaughter other non-believers.

    • 

      um being born again is coming to the lord Patricia, thats when He gives you new life. There is no ‘born again process’ you read it wrong. Also stop being a know it all… what was said is absolutely right.know your facts before making comments like that. Thanks. Stop acting like you know the whole Bible too thank you very much

    • 

      Jesus didn’t die for “All” of us he only die for the people of a nation. Plus Christianity is biased to all religion that why most of us hate them. Being a christian mean u cannot go temple? What bullshit is that. Plus no one really knows if he died for us, unless there are solid evidence that says that he really died for us, if not it is only a legend. Christianity cant eat things that are from other religion temple? What hell is that? If really jesus exist, why would he be biased against other religion so get a life.

      • 

        Jason, Great questions. I encourage you to read the book of Romans in the Bible. For someone with such great questions, Romans is a book with great answers. God bless.

    • 

      Even Satan believed in Jesus,,,,its not enough to just believe

      • 

        Very true, JJ. And think about this, even Satan OBEYED Jesus (when Jesus commanded him to leave people, during the temptations in Luke 4, etc.). So, just belief in Jesus and obedience to Jesus are not the same as true faith.

    • 

      Blah, blah, blah, all I hear is bullshit.

    • 

      You are born again when you give your life to Jesus which he explained. Maybe you are the one who needs to read more of the bible.

      • 

        Awesome comment, Hannah!

      • 

        The idea that you are “born again” when you “accept Jesus” is a heresy that started with a heretic by the name of Charles Grandison Finney. It began in the mid 1800’s as part of what he called his “new methods of evangelism.” Until then, such an idea was pretty much unknown except with some small Anabaptist sects. And even they didn’t do things the way Finney set them up.

        The Christian Church from the beginning taught that to be born again meant the washing away of sins by baptism. Baptism cleanses us of original sin because it unites us to Christ (Rom. 6:3 & Gal. 3:27). Baptism is the covenant making ceremony which replaced the circumcision ritual of the Jews. It is way we enter into the New Covenant.

        If you will study Christian history you can find these things.

    • 

      Patricia you might just be one reasons Christianity is so messed up! Such a condescending statement as if you KNOW what is right. What makes you so absolutely sure you have this whole thing figured out? It is the Pharisees like you that have made Christianity into a religion not worth it’s salt. You are foolish, ignorant and self-righteous. I think I may have seen you picketing a soldier’s funeral. BTW, You are completely wrong!

    • 

      Patricia, Did Jesus say he’s the son of God? State a book and chapter, verse, in your Christian bible where Jesus say he’s the son of god? Please stop being fanatical for a moment and think logically. This world is all messed up because of your delusional ‘entitlement’ belief.. Wake up.

      • 

        Vikki,

        Here you go:

        Jesus replied, “It is written in your own Scriptures that God said to certain leaders of the people, ‘I say, you are gods!’ And you know that the Scriptures cannot be altered. So if those people who received God’s message were called ‘gods,’ why do you call it blasphemy when I say, ‘I am the Son of God’? After all, the Father set me apart and sent me into the world. Don’t believe me unless I carry out my Father’s work. But if I do his work, believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don’t believe me. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.” (John 10:34-38 NLT)

        But Jesus was silent and made no reply. Then the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus said, “ I AM And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven. ” (Mark 14:61, 62 NLT)

        Take care.

    • 

      Have you ever compared reading the bible and reading a science book, big difference. Reading the bible is a great way of realizing how stupid the bible really is. Where does one get the morals to properly interpret it, let alone knowing which parts to choose from the bad parts. Its also boring, vague and conflicting nonsense. I’d be better of reading Harry Potter, far more entertaining!

    • 

      You seem to be missing his point Patricia..

    • 

      John said “He who DOES RIGHTEOUSNESS is righteous” The idea of “faith alone” is only found one time in the Bible. In James it is said “Faith alone is dead.” Faith alone does not save anyone.

      Jesus told us that to have eternal life, one must eat His Flesh and drink His Blood. Only one Church offers that — the Church which Jesus Himself established upon St. Peter. You cannot find the Body and Blood of Christ in any ekklesial assembly which popped up during or after the Protestant Rebellion which began with Luther.

      BTW — there is no such thing as “accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior.” That is another heretical Protestant fantasy which was cooked up by the Reformation

  2. 

    First of all, great name for your site. HOPE does STAND: on the powerful, sturdy legs of the presence and love of Jesus and His faithfulness, firm on the eternal foundation of the Scriptures.

    I love this post. Witty, funny, poignant, and true. I am completely baffled by the attitude of the comment before mine; I don’t think Patricia read your words carefully. God has offered us grace freely and completely, while we were still His enemies, through the death and resurrection of Jesus. I believe your illustrations made it clear that by coming to Christ and trusting Him, we are justified and made righteous.

    Because you have explained the unique potency of our Savior’s work from a clever, non-traditional angle, those reading who might be inimical to the usual “preachiness” of many Christians won’t experience their usual knee-jerk resistance, and might actually be confronted by truth.

    Well done; keep it up!

  3. 

    The one thing that mainly stands out to me is when you say:

    “Before you can perform the commandments, Jesus has given you righteousness and eternal life.”

    Jesus hasn’t given you eternal life, you still need to earn it. Just because you believe in Jesus and love Him and have a relationship with Him, doesn’t mean you will get into Heaven. To truly love Jesus, you must act the way He would expect you too. Faith without action is dead. If you don’t live out the things you preach and believe, then you won’t receive the reward of eternal life. The website http://www.catholicbible101.com/faithandworks.htm says it better than me:

    “The simple answer is that we are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8), and not by works. However, one has to remember that it is not enough to simply say “I believe”, and then do nothing. The bible says, “Not everyone who says Lord, Lord, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but rather he who does the will of my Father” (Matthew 7:21) Therefore, it must be assumed that works are indeed a necessary component of one’s faith. Too many people think that faith means giving God lip service only (“This generation honors me with their lips, while their heart is far from me”, Matthew 15:18), rather than actually doing good deeds for others. Another thing to remember is that the Jews of Paul’s day had many observances of the law that they had to keep, like not eating pork, ritual hand-washing, not eating meat with blood in it, etc. Paul may have been referring to these ritualistic works when he used the term “dead works” (Hebrews 9:14). In fact, in Romans 3:20, Paul says, “Because by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified before him. For by the law is the knowledge of sin”, a very clear distinction between works of the law and doing good deeds as a result of your faith.”

    I just don’t want readers to get the wrong notion about Christianity. I also know that I am Roman Catholic, and not sure which denomination of Christianity you are, but I believe we should be able to agree on this common ground.

    Nice article by the way, the title is very… rambunctious.

    • 

      I don’t think it works like “earning” in the way you say it. Jesus does save you upon your belief, but if you do sincerely believe, then your life will sincerely change. Look at it this way, if I say “I believe that if I walk into the motorway, no car will hit me” and then when challenged, I refuse to walk across the M25 because of the danger, the truth is I don’t really believe. If you believe in God, you follow his rules. That isn’t earning his favour, you don’t get points with God for doing good things, but it is the result of sincere belief, and only those who sincerely believe are God’s children.

      • 

        Michael, that’s right! When you believe, you will desire to do the “work.” Even better, God will send his Spirit to help you with it. Thanks for your comment!

    • 

      Jack, thank you for your thoughtful and informed critique! God bless!

    • 

      “Just because you believe in Jesus and love Him and have a relationship with Him, doesn’t mean you will get into Heaven. To truly love Jesus, you must act the way He would expect you too.”

      Your two sentences contradict each other :P Instead, it should be: “Just because you believe in Jesus and love Him and have a relationship with Him [DOES] mean you will get into Heaven [BECAUSE IF YOU] truly love Jesus, you [WILL] act the way He would expect you too.”

      Loving Jesus is equated with doing what he asks of us. If you love someone, you will generally respect/listen/obey them because you love them. Loving Jesus means acknowledging his Lordship, and therefore obedience would be the natural response to your love for him. Hence “faith without works is dead” because works are the natural product of faith. We don’t work to get or earn, we work BECAUSE we are in love with and in relationship with our Saviour.

      I totally agree that it is not enough to SAY “I believe”. Because people lie with their words. Hence the passage you quoted which says “this generation honors me with their lips, while their heart is far from me”, Matthew 15:18. Note that he says their HEARTS are far from Him, not their WORKS. Of course, I agree that their works will generally REFLECT their heart attitude towards God. But to suggest that we still have to earn our salvation is to undermine, detract, and ultimately devalue, that which Jesus did on the cross.

      “He who does the will of the Father” – yes, which he does BECAUSE he loves the Father. I am a woman, so if I said “I am a man” doesn’t make that fact true. Just like some people say “I love God” doesn’t make that true. It is about their heart attitude, which only God can judge by the way. Their WORKS are a pretty good way of expressing their heart attitude, but we can’t judge by it. You’re absolutely right about people doing the will of the Father, but you’re wrong about why they do it. We don’t do it to EARN anything – Jesus did that all. We do it BECAUSE we love Jesus and it’s what he asks us to do.

      I’m about to get married actually. When I am married, I am married. I will not be, let’s say, cooking for my husband to EARN me my marriage, or to MAKE me his wife – I will already be his wife! I will be (for example), cooking for my husband BECAUSE he is my husband and I love him. To suggest that my cooking [works] makes me his wife is absurd. It doesn’t. I will already be his wife; my cooking [works] will be one of the many ways I show him how much I love him and actually allow the expression of my heart attitude towards him. Relationship :D

      Why would we call Jesus our ‘Saviour’ if our salvation depended on ourselves?

      • 

        Jo, you’re remarks are brilliant. Thank you for sharing with such clarity. And, God bless you on your wedding!

      • 

        What a great way to express our “marrage” to Jesus. After all we are his bride.We first are born again but can I suggest our relationship is born out of gratitude. Gratitude because he saved us and sorted out our mess. But by doing so he revealed who he is to us. By the time the deciples were at the last supper Jesus simply said “remember me” Not remember what I have done “but Me” The had seen him raise the dead So he has power over life and death. They saw him heal the poor women who touched the hem of his garment. He even found the money to pay for the entrance into the city so he has power over our finances. He even calmed the sea when harden fisherman were scared. When you fall “in Love” you do so because you have got to know the person and you can only do that by walking and talking to them daily. Thankyou Jo you certainly will see a different side to your man when you live with him. But your Love for him will conquer all>

      • 

        Jo, Right you are. Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the whole world. That is called subjective justification. However Objective justification is required as well and is achieved by taking hold of the gift of salvation and receiving it. Jesus sais “no one comes to the Father but by Me and that means accepting Him as savior. If we accept him as our savior we enter into the new covenant with God. In that covenant there are only two commandments. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind and with all your soul. The second is like the first, Love your neighbor as your self. Pretty simple but impossible for humans to fully comply with. That is why the gift of faith is so important. When we have faith and believe in the gift of salvation we know that daily we are forgiven for our inability to keep the law perfectly. We can not earn salvation. Nothing we can do will perfectly fulfill the law. That is where Grace comes in. By the Grace of God I am saved and not by works lest any man can boast. Grace is the gift of God that works salvation in us even though we daily sin much. After all, if we were able to keep the law perfectly, it would not have been necessary for God to send his Son to be our savior. The big mystery in all of this is why does God love us humans so much that he did all this for us. I have been given the answer and yes in a direct revelation that would take several paragraphs more to show you how it happened, but the answer is that GOD IS LOVE. That is all he said to me and all I need to know. I need question Him no more.
        May God Bless you greatly
        Bob R.

    • 
      Peter Montgomery March 27, 2014 at 5:58 pm

      Had you read a little further in Romans you would read: For we maintain a man is justified by faith APART from observing the law. Cut and dry

      • 

        Taken entirely out of context of what Paul is trying to teach. Paul was badgered all his life and his congregations were bothered by the Judaisers. These were men who were causing havoc in the Church. The Judaisers were teaching Gentiles that you must first obey the Law of Judaism by being circumcised and if you didn’t do that, you couldn’t really be a Christ follower or be saved. Paul devoted a whole book to exploding this myth — the book of Galatians.

        Yet James said that those who keep the law are justified. James 2: 21Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

        Also this: Jas 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

        It was as if James foresaw the heretical teaching of Luther and Calvin and wrote this book to be sure we understand that “faith alone” is not true. The fact is that we experience our initial justification, that is, being saved, by grace alone through faith. That salvation is done by Christ and we have no part in anything of it except to be baptized into Him. But in our lives as Christians, we maintain our covenant keeping with him by doing of good works. That is why in Romans 2: 5-10, John 5: 28-29, and Matthew 25: 33-46 we see eternal life being given to those who do good works. They maintain their covenant with God and are thus justified by their continuing union with Christ through those works.

    • 

      The reason I value the article over your comment is because I dislike how you’ve used ‘earned’ and ‘works’. If we agree that we are all, on a basic level, inclined towards selfishness, greed, etc. then the choices made purely by ourselves will lead us towards those areas. Therefore, the good works that we (as in physically us) do aren’t actually done by us (as in spiritually us) but the Spirit of the Lord working through us.

      The consequence of this is that all we are doing is being open to being led by the Lord, without actually doing anything ourselves. So as soon as we truly accept Jesus, the natural thing is to then do good works so we aren’t earning them.

      In that sense I agree with the article, even though I don’t dispute that works are important. I, instead, consider them as a visual indication of Jesus’ love rather than a payment for it.

    • 

      I have to say you are completely wrong when you say “you still need to earn it”. Almost all of the rest of what you say is correct and I see the point you are trying to make: lip service is not in any way legitimate faith and does not represent how the Bible teaches us to live.
      BUT you are very wrong in that it is entirely possible to do NO good works, yet have faith and be saved. Look at the example of the criminal on the cross next to Jesus, whom Jesus turns to and says “today you will be with me in paradise”.
      Did the criminal have a chance to do any good works? No. But he believed, and I think we can be sure from Jesus words that he was saved. To re-iterate your point, if we truly believe, our lives will be changed, but faith is all that is required to be saved.

    • 

      Jack,
      I only have this to respond to your post. If we are not truly saved by our faith in Jesus, but must act out that faith through works, how do you explain the man that was hanging on the cross next to Jesus? All he said according to Luke 23:42 was, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” He was nailed to a cross. He was dead a short time later, as recorded in the other gospels. He had no chance to take any action in his new found faith. He never took communion, he never went to a Sunday school class, he never did anything but die after “praying” to Jesus. But in verse 43, Jesus said to him, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” I agree that we are taught in scripture that ‘faith without works is dead’, but how do you reconcile this? What about when a Catholic priest does a deathbed reading of the someone’s last rites? The only action these people take, is placing their trust in Jesus. Be blessed, sir. And to Sam an the ‘Hope Stands’ team, thank you for this piece. This is the first time I have come across your site, but I assure you, I will be back. Have a great day!

    • 

      Works are a necessary evidence of salvation, the result of true faith… not a means for salvation.

  4. 

    You want to know what’s backwards? Your interpretation of the actual religion.

    • 

      Thanks for your thoughts! God bless!

      • 

        I don’t quite understand your argument in this article. People make fun of christianity for their stance on gay marriage, evolution, and religious pluralism (your words), but instead of making fun of those things, you should make fun of us for this really good thing.

        Why would I make fun of someone for something that is good. You’re just distracting from the main issues which is gay marriage, evolution and religious pluralism.

      • 

        Tom, thanks for your question; I’m suggesting that the main issue is the cross of Jesus.

  5. 

    Jesus and God know all, They already know who you are. God is the most forgiving being. Someone who lives their life in darkness wants to see the light still has to prove him or herself that he/she truly believes and loves God and Jesus. It is a life journey. And for the argument that atheists make about how you go your whole life without believing and then on your death bed you suddenly say “I believe” who is to say that God will accept you. You doubted him and on your death bed your make a fool out of him. Im not saying I know the truth but the fact is nobody knows until they die.

  6. 
    anna marie martin March 26, 2014 at 10:35 am

    I think some people have miss understood what he is saying is that no matter what God accepts you and will forgive you. Lovely blog :)

  7. 

    This is most confusing. Squabbling among Christians about what “God really means ” puts doubt in one’s mind. I wish you would not do this. As it is life is an off again on again struggle. When you write and then respond via comments to an article such as this, you do nothing but confuse God’s struggling children. You, the authors of confusion, never know where your reader is spiritually.

    • 

      thanks for your comments, Richard. May God give clarity through any confusion.

    • 

      Yeah nobody should ever debate about the meaning of a religion that is subject to an enormous variety of interpretations – it’s too confusing! I bet you know exactly what Christianity is all about, too, don’t you.

  8. 

    I’m confused why you mentioned Muslims in there, can you explain please?

    • 

      Yep, just to demonstrate the “norm” of works before reward within a religion. I also could have mentioned keeping the 8 fold path in order to get the reward, as Buddhism teaches. In each case, the follower must do the work in order to get the reward. It would be silly and not honoring to the teachings of these major religions to say that you get grace before works. However, this is true of Christianity; God gives grace first, before we earn it. I wasn’t in any way poking fun at Islam, only using it to illustrate the works-before-reward point. Muslims would agree with me, that they must keep the 5 pillars in order to get the reward.

      • 

        I must be confused, to me it sounds like you were making the same point for Islam as for Christianity in regards to grace before works.

  9. 

    Choose and pick what suits hour personal philosophy. Have you noticed that?

  10. 

    I Hate to say this but have completly misunderstood everything!

  11. 

    A very well structured opening! It left a lot of people in confusion, me included at the start, I think that your intentions in the first paragraph can be misinterpreted. However it is a very good point you make. We do nothing for the love of our lord and yet we are handed it to us. If we only trust and believe in him then we will forever live by his side. The absaloute audacity that a omniscient god could offer his love to the thing that harbours and created the very thing that it cannot stand. This is why I think that some people find it hard to believe in God. I hope you, the author will find Gods grace and strength through the comments readers will make. I hope and pray you reach many unreached or lost brothers or sisters and I pray that for all that read the book that God will give them the vision to be inspired by your book. Good luck and God bless

  12. 

    I’ve been doing nothing for the love of the lord for a while now, is it ok if just make a spiritual withdrawal now before I get my wages in death.

    As horrendous as this guy is, at least he’s reading the bible as it’s written rather than just picking the agreeable bits. http://youtu.be/35zq2–nTYE

  13. 

    I understand what you are saying, but I think it is misguided. God gives people the potential for people to be graced. Just as with Paradise, Heaven is not a guarantee. One needs to have faith in order to be saved. In that sense, there is a mean (faith) to an end (Grace). What you are saying is that one does not need to work to be a Christian, yet the religion preaches “Love thy neighbor,” which I would call a work. The irony is that we can consider Grace from God a gift, as he by no means has to nor should give is to us, yet at at the same time we must fulfill a lifestyle to have it bestowed upon us. You might say that every individual, regardless of whether or not they act for God, is given Grace. But what then of those that sin, and sin terribly. Is the murderer Graced? Is the pedophile or the rapist? I think if you asked most Christians, and most people around the world, people like that do not receive God’s Grace.

    • 

      Thanks for your comment, John! I appreciate the feedback. And, for the record, yes, I believe that a murderer can definitely receive grace and become a full heir of all the promises of God, being adopted into his family and made a brother of our Lord Jesus. Jesus’ blood is powerful enough to save anyone. Our belief is what connects us to his saving grace.

      • 

        So if someone were to kill child after child, day after day, and never repent, he would still receive God’s grace?

      • 

        That’s not what I said. I said that “faith connects us with God’s grace.” There is no forgiveness without repentance.

      • 

        I couldn’t reply to your last comment. Just to clarify, my last comment was a follow up question. But from what you just said, “There is no forgiveness without repentance,” does that mean what a murderer who killed many children would not be given God’s Grace unless he/she repented? If so, that sounds like there’s some work to obtain Grace…please don’t just say “Thanks for your comment, John.” I want to know what you think.

      • 

        Thanks for hanging in there with me, John. I appreciate your questions. Let me explain. Yes, I still stand by my comment, “there is not forgiveness without repentance.” Here’s why. First, repentance is not a “work.” A “work” is anything we do to earn God’s favor; meaning, we think our own self-righteousness is good enough to save us. We think that our righteousness is as good as God’s holiness demands. That’s what I mean by “work.” Repentance, on the other hand, is not a “work.” Repentance is recognizing that you cannot earn God’s favor, that you do not have what it takes to live up to God’s righteous requirements. So you do something about it. You repent. Let me give you an illustration. Imagine that you’re on a boat at sea. But your boat is filled with holes and ruined. You’re about to drown. But then you spy another boat, not far away. It’s strong and sound. So, you abandon your old, rotten boat and swim over to the sound boat. That’s what repentance is. Repentance is leaving your old, insufficient vessel and swimming over to Jesus Christ, who is able to save you. Now, realize that the act of swimming did not save you; the good boat saved you. Repentance or swimming over to the good boat, just put you in the position to be saved. Jesus is the good boat who saves us. Repentance, therefore, has two parts. 1) Abandoning ship (leaving your sinful wreckage) and 2) Swimming over to Jesus and clinging onto him for dear life. Again, repentance is not a “work,” because you’re not trying to save yourself. Repentance is giving yourself to the only One who can save you. Repentance leads to trust, which is another word for “faith.” So, that’s why I say that a murderer can be given grace. This kind of person can leave his rotten boat behind and swim over to Jesus for salvation. John, I hope that makes sense! If not, just let me know (and I ended up having to type this all twice, because I accidentally deleted my first reply!)

      • 

        Sad, I wish you would do your job and respond.

      • 

        Sorry, John, I just did. I had to type my response twice, because of an accidental erase. My apologies.

      • 

        Oh never mind haha you did

      • 

        Just to keep going with that analogy, swimming does seem like a work. For if that person doomed to sink never swam, they would not have been saved. Also, you said that the person is not trying to save him/herself, but that’s kind of exactly what this scenario portrays: an individual who is about to die abandoning ship and working to get to a different ship to live on.

      • 

        Put plainly, I’m equating a work to a something like a qualification or needed action. If the sinking individual did not swim, they would not have reached the other boat and would not have been saved. From what I understand of your post on this page, it is not necessary to do anything to obtain God’s Grace. Yet you say we have to swim to the other boat, which is doing something.

      • 

        Can I just pop in here for a moment? I like this analogy,and John, I think you’ve gotten a little confused as the ‘swimming to the new boat’ and how that appears to be working for your salvation.

        Perhaps it would help if we focused on the swimming bit for a moment. If swimming was a work, then it would matter how far we had to swim, or how quickly, or how much we had to splash around trying not to drown as we tried to get to the gleaming ship of Jesus on the horizon. If we were strong enough swimmers, we’d be able to reach that boat and climb aboard the H.M.S Salvation. Right?

        Well that’s not God’s grace. You will NEVER be a strong enough swimmer to earn passage on the H.M.S Salvation. You could be the best swimmer in the world, but you’ll still be a broken, fallen individual, weighed down by sin. No matter how hard you try, no matter how far you swim, you’re never going to make it on your own. But Jesus died so you wouldn’t have to swim a SINGLE STROKE… He made it so you wouldn’t have to even get in the water! When He died, he made a bridge between your leaky broken boat, and the glorious shining ship of a life in relationship with God. All you have to do is accept it.

        Hope Stands, thank you for a wonderful blog post that sums up just how incredible and profound grace is.

        .

      • 

        Ian, thanks for “popping in”! The insights that you added are terrific. You have a solid understanding of my position. Thank you for adding these helpful clarifications to the conversation. God bless! Sam

  14. 

    Sam, well written. For everyone that replied negatively, I wonder if they even read what you had to say or simple read the title and got their feathers ruffled? And such squabbling among fellow Christians…is it any wonder nonbelievers want nothing to do with Christianity? We really shouldn’t be so quick to judge, and perhaps take a moment to actually read what has been written and think about the thought process that went into it. Thank you Sam and God bless!

  15. 

    Actually it says “For the wages of sin(not our work) is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    • 

      Kensly, yes, I know that it’s “sin” rather than “work.” I am pleased that you picked up on that! I was just doing what Scripture does elsewhere, by equating our self-justifying work with “sin.”

  16. 

    I’m not going to become Christian just because I want to “start receiving a favor before I’ve earned it”. I’d only become Christian if I had reason to believe that God exists (same with Hinduism, Islam, the Roman gods etc). And I have no reason to believe that God exists. So this post is all very nice and everything, but it’s not going to convince any rational thinking person to become Christian. I’ll stick with the compassion and love I find in Humanism, thanks.

    • 

      James, I respect your decision. And I hope that God reveals himself to you, so that you can know that he exists and that he has wonderful treasures for you. It sounds like you’re a great person, though. I’m grateful that you’re doing what you can to love and care for others (according to Humanism). Thanks for your comments; and you’re always welcome here.

    • 

      James, You are correct. Rational thinking will never prove there is a God or that Christ is his son, or that by Grace we are forgiven and that by faith in Christ we receive salvation or eternal life with Him. The way it works is this, Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. When we hear the word of God (or read it) the holy spirit works in us to accept Christ as our savior and then receive the gift of Grace and salvation. The world (those that have not been confronted by the Holy Spirit) does not understand that or how it can be true. Only by Faith will you find a reason to believe there is a God and all the other facets of Christianity. I pray that you will hear the word of God and that the Holy spirit will work in you to create a faith in your savior Jesus Christ.
      Bob R.

  17. 

    Couple questions: Did God’s grace and forgiveness exist before we ask for it? If God’s grace is not free, can it still technically be called grace?

    My main response is to Jack, but also for others that may be confused about the whole idea of free grace.

    It is part of our human logic to feel the need to earn what we get. We expect to get a paycheck when we do a good job at work, we expect favors in return for favors given, etc. However this is the whole point of the article – you cannot earn salvation. Salvation is referred to as a gift because we, in ourselves and our actions, cannot do anything to earn it. We tried with the 10 Commandments and failed.

    Jack referred to the verse in Matthew that says that not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of Heaven. If you look closely at that scripture, Paul says only those who do the will of God will enter heaven. He is addressing Christians. They were doing good things but they were ignoring God’s will. It is not about doings things for God. The Pharisees were doing good things for God but Jesus called them vipers and white-washed tombstones because they had the wrong motives. It is not about what we do.

    We can’t do things to earn God’s favor and salvation but we do things to show that we love God. It’s a question of motivation. Do we desire salvation because we don’t want to go to hell, or do we desire salvation in order to restore our lost relationship with God.

    Jesus gives the parable of the unforgiving servant who was forgiven a great debt by the king. But the servant turned around and would not forgive his fellow servant a much smaller debt. The religious leaders also criticized Jesus for allowing a prostitute to be in his presence. Jesus told them that she had been forgiven much. Because we are forgiven much we should want to serve Him and do His will, not to earn His forgiveness. We simply can’t earn it. This is what sets Christianity apart from every other religion on the face of the earth. Hope this helps.

    Good article, by the way.

  18. 

    This type of article how ridiculous Christianity is. People are always looking for a way to feel good about their life, or justify its meaning, importance, or validity. So they buy into these doctrines that allow for themselves to self identify as someone who is righteous, or justified, albeit through someone (Jesus). It allows them to group their life as a whole and call it justified, rather than having to scrutinize every individual action they made and allow for their life and person to be incoherent, good sometimes and bad others. The idea of personal salvation is so destructive. In Luke salvation is never personal, but communal, and always a continuous striving–so that you’re left with more of an outward social gospel, that actually does good bringing the marginalized into present salvation, that is, wellbeing. The Western Christianity does not embrace this though. They want personal salvation, to be justified. Instead they follow Paul when he fucks it up with his justification doctrine, which if you do your historical research, has more to do about allowing gentiles into the fold of Judaism, then it does with people being justified. All in all, being justified is only a lingual label people like to apply to themselves so they don’t have to deal with an incoherent and confusing existence, or the idea of their person ending in death. Really, justification is another way to try and self preserve after death. Selfish and naive.

    • 

      Paul, sounds like you’ve been reading NT Wright? Or maybe EP Sanders? I appreciate your feedback and honesty. However, I wouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater; salvation can be both personal and communal, wouldn’t you say?

      • 

        …So that the alternative is?: personal salvation in order to do well toward others and God. But look how you frame it: “Are you sick of earning favor? Why not start receiving favor? Christianity stands alone.” The argument is based solely on the desires of the individual…not God, not others. The closest you get is the “intense personal relationship” Nothing, in Judaism, or Pre-Pauline thought is ever strictly personal relationship. It is always communal. Unfortunately, even if you acknowledge the communal salvation you failed to account for in this blog, the omission is typical conception of religion as self-serving and convenient.
        I have read NT Wright, as well as more contemporary academic scholars. As you can see, I differentiate between Luke and Pauline thought, favoring Luke’s. But actually, I don’t identify as a Christian at all. Not sure why I’m even commenting. Maybe just so that whatever belief system people choose to adopt they’ll look primarily outward rather than inward for perceived “favors”…

    • 

      Or maybe it’s because the only complete “work” done for justification hung upon a cross at Calvary. If we contend that works are required then we contend that the work on the cross is insufficient. I don’t see how God could have made it any more complete.

      Works is simply a response that a Christian has after they have received the free, but never cheap, gift of salvation. And salvation, as with worship and prayer, can be both personal and communal.

      • 

        I’m not concerned with magic “salvation” that gets you to think you live on after death. Jesus as the sacrificial lamb is in some gospels, not Luke-Acts.The work on the cross has clearly been insufficient if you look at the world. Salvation is always a present condition for earth, shalom, yada yada yada

        Regardless, the concept of salvation is a crutch people use to justify their lives and believe they’ll live on past death when their dead

  19. 

    Reblogged this on fivestonesandasling and commented:
    This caught my attention. Great thought.

  20. 

    So Christians seem to think that they can just live by faith and have salvation? Some believed this. But the bible says that works without faith is nothing, and faith without works is nothing. So we do still have to do good as well. It’s just that no matter how hard we try we can never do as God our father wants us to. That is why we have Jesus. He came to save us sinners because no matter how hard we try we will still sin. He is coming to take the ones who no longer want to sin and want to do God’s work(key word, some one who truly has faith will work and have faith in God to be able to shine through them to do His work). We don’t get saved just by faith. We are suppose to use our faith for God’s work and to build his church and his kingdom. So we know that it is not possible to work our way into heaven by ourselves. That is where saving grace comes in. See faith is doing your best and letting God take care of the rest. So faith is not just knowing that God will take care of us even if we don’t try. Try your best and He will take you the rest of the way. By grace through faith we are saved. The whole bible speaks about love. To be saved we must truly love God. Thanks for reading if you did it is appreciated.

    • 

      Actually, the Bible says ‘faith without works is dead’, In James 2. What that means, Joey, is that faith comes before works – once you have accepted salvation – truly accepted it – there is a change in the individual as they seek to further align themselves with God’s heart. Good works are not the cause of salvation, but rather the evidence of it.

      You cannot buy your way into salvation – you’d never afford it. You’d never even come close. That’s why it’s grace! When we were still lost and broken sinners, Jesus came. But he didn’t come to die so we could meet him half way. He didn’t pay some of the price – it wasn’t a ‘75% off salvation!’ special to make it easier for us. He came so that the price would be paid, completely, utterly and in full. It belittles the incredible sacrifice of Jesus to suggest anything otherwise.

      Leading a good life is not our destiny – as Christians, we are destined for eternity in relationship with our Creator. It is our mandate to share the grace that we received with everyone, so that everyone might accept salvation. Jesus taught us how to do that – He made it utterly clear – ‘Love God. Love people’.

      Faith isn’t ‘doing your best and letting God take care of the rest.’ Faith is TRUSTING in God and letting Him direct your life.

      You are right in one regard though, Joey. To be saved, we must truly love God – but when you truly love God, your life is transformed and ‘good works’ become a natural part of it as you seek after Him.

  21. 

    If we don’t preach the Gospel until people begin to misunderstand you as saying :”Let us sin that Grace may abound”, then we are not preaching the same Gospel that Paul preached.

    – Martin Lloyd Jones

  22. 

    Reblogged this on Living life and commented:
    Don’t just look at the title, read the whole thing. Thought its final message was really strong

  23. 

    Whites and their religions annoy me. Africans are practical–praying to their ancestors. Asians got it right–living by a system of beliefs that make one moral. These europeans, and other white ethnic groups, pray to something they can never even start to disect because they don’t know what it is, or ever what it will be!!!

    • 

      Some one put this on my facebook. for you Yaga.
      One interesting thought/quote I found on Ratio Christi at Marshall University is as follows: I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren’t true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks. You’re telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible. – Charles Colson
      Jesus is real. can’t speak for the rest.

    • 

      Yaga, Christianity began in the Middle East and Africa with dark skinned people, not with white Europeans, as you say.

  24. 

    Brothers and sisters please! I’m sure Jesus has enough for us all to do if we only listen to the prompting of His Holy Spirit. I don’t think we need to argue about how faith in our Saviour works. Let’s just be thankful that it does and that He’s sent His Spirit to show us what to do anew each day. Freely we have received, so freely we can give dear family, if only we listen to His voice.

    The Lord Bless and Guide us all. xx

    Paul

  25. 

    Okay this is not how Christianity is SUPPOSED to work. That’s how it is PRACTICED today. There is a difference. Read the Bible and know your facts first. People twist religion around all the time but what passes for “Christianity” today is not the Christianity talked about in the Bible. And by the way I’m not a Christian, I’m Agnostic. But I was raised in a Christian home.

  26. 

    Ah the heresy of sola fide…

  27. 

    Wow I’m amazed at how wrong this person is. You all should read the bible. John 3:5, Romans 8:9 and Acts 2:38. You have to be baptised and receive the Holy Spirit with evidence of speaking in tongues, preach the word to others. You aren’t getting eternal life or going to enter the kingdom of god if you aren’t saved and it isn’t something you can just put aside once you’ve done so, you have to live by it and keep at it. You can’t believe god’s works and call yourself a Christian without doing what he asks of you. Don’t let people confuse you and tell you to give your heart to Jesus, the evidence and proof is all in the bible. you must be saved! Work for your life.

    • 

      Sorry, but look at the example of Jesus on the cross telling the criminal next to him “today your will be with me in Paradise.”
      Was he baptised?
      Did he speak in tongues?
      Did he preach?
      Did he do good works?
      No?
      But did he confess with his mouth and believe in his heart that Jesus is Lord? Looks like it to me.

    • 

      I believe in works, but works are born FROM salvation… not FOR salvation. Only Christ can save us, and only Christ can keep us saved.

      “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

      “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)

      “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12)

      “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” (Jude 24&25)

  28. 

    all i have to say is you were taught wrongfully.. Christians do not stand for that!

  29. 

    This accords entirely with my previous understanding of grace. Now I am what could generously be called a lapsed Christian. I had sincerely given my heart to Jesus earlier in my life, but now regard the entire edifice of Christianity as entirely man-made and not at all reflective of any real God’s wishes concerning my (or anyone’s) conduct or belief.
    By the doctrine of Grace, I am going to heaven! In fact Cardinal Pell said in an interview on Q&A with Richard Dawkins that even Atheists can go to heaven. Why not live as I am? Why go to church or follow the (most popular, in this part of the world, and at this period in history) interpretation of scripture as regards my conduct?
    As you answer my question, note the degree to which your answer pulls on the threads of the argument laid out in this article.

  30. 
    TimbreisGodgiven March 27, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Hi Sam!

    I really liked your article and how it clearly spoke of the downward arrow we have in our faith as opposed to the upward arrow of all other religions! When C.S. Lewis once wandered into a debate about what is unique about Christianity, he said “Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.”
    I’m just saddened by all the false teachings and partial understandings of scripture lurking around in the comments, many akin to what was going on in Galatia. We shouldn’t be surprised though, Jesus warned us that false teachers would come along!
    I pray however, that God will work in their (your) hearts and reveal the whole truth to those who don’t know it yet! And I’m confident, that He can do that with everyone in these comments! :D

    May the Lord bless you all!
    Your brother in Christ.

    p.s.: Dylan you may want to consider the first part of what Christ said, but Jack left out in his comment “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:22-23) It’s a typical case of people taking things out of context. It’s even more ironic, because the these verses are right next to each other. Verses 21-23 clearly show that the Christian must have actions but they also show that their actions are not enough for their salvation. That is clear from verse 22. They have to know Christ personally. Doing the will of the Father and knowing Christ go hand in hand; they cannot be separated. Especially because the first commandment is to love God with everything we have. But we cannot love God if He doesn’t love us first and save us from our sins. Reading Romans is a good idea when it comes to the doctrine of grace.
    Christian actions are therefore the outflow of the heart which has been saved by Christ. They are the result of the sanctification (making holy) by the Spirit, not our way to be justified. On judgement day, the Christian will stand before God and will be justified because He knew Christ. But his actions will also show to up to have bared fruit, because of that very fact.
    Having this all in mind, I must no go to sleep, because my sleeping pattern has been messed up lately, and the Lord wants me to honour him with that just as much! But thank the Lord I’m not saved because of a good sleeping pattern! I’d never get to heaven…

    • 

      This is an absolutely fascinating blog! Guess I need to switch from business blogging to faith to get more followers! Thanks Sam for putting this “shocking” article out to spark this discussion. I love the extreme examples you share to show the utter absurdity (from the world’s perspective) to receive the gift of free grace that the Christian faith teaches. The notion of free grace is pretty shocking in the world’s economy.

      Now I want to speak to the skeptics who feel that those who believe that by seeing free grace as an option for them, are selfish. That we are seeking a free pass and are selfishly focused trying to skirt any effort and work in a selfish and naive fashion. It may seem on face value that this is a selfish perspective. Here is my theory though. I believe that the American economy of “self made” men and women and a particularly self focused culture has contoured our faith outlook. And yet I’m not saying I don’t identify with the notion of free grace. I do in fact identify as a Christ follower.

      So hang in with me on this point. The idea of free grace is really rooted in the reality that we as human beings has such a lack of purity that we just simply cannot earn salvation. No five pillars. No eight fold path. No sacrifices. No amount of effort can make us finally cross over from selfish and broken to pure. When I look around at the sad realities of our broken world, the sadness of man’s dark side is just too overpowering to believe that we can earn our way out of our statte. I truly do identify with the person who sees the Western contorted Christian outlook that makes the faith all about me. The reality is it should never be all about me. The journey to crying out for such a miracle of free grace, should come on the heels of sadness when one lets self really bask in the realities of the world’s darkness and of one’s personal darkness In our world of TV, PCs, iPads, money and sex and materialism and a million other mind numbing self indulgences, we don’t often do this thing I call basking. But let’s say you strip away all the temporary mind numbing and selfish distractions of life and just look out whole day to meditate and think about life and the broken things in it. Like murder. Like death. Like divorce and betrayal. Like child abuse. Like money hungry people who trample the poor. Like war and terrorism. Need I go on? And then getting less grand scale how about the things I mess up? How about personal indulgence and forgetting to spend enough time with my child? How about caring more about my big house than dying children in Africa? How about my unkind feelings towards petty people at work and inability in my moments of weakness to choose kindness over meanness? How about when I want my kid to win in sports and beat others more than wanting him to learn good sportsmanship? And so forth… ever moment of weakness is a moment of said darkness. Then think about how you and others can dig out of that pile of gross stuff. It is a weight too heavy to be moved.

      So hang in a second more here. My true belief is that understanding grace is ONLY for the person who lets their heart go to this place and ponder the sadness of our state in this world. The soul who feels that hopelessness and cries out for something, someone, God if you are there then God for you to help me. It’s this cry in anguish and pain that opens the door for grace to enter. This is the act of understanding and hating the brokenness. Of realizing that there is no way to climb out of the pit of human misbehavior. Of actually wanting at a heart level to see the darkness heal, and light enter. When this happens, a humble heart faces his or her God and says a word. HELP. We are able to receive the flood of forgiveness. And then the miracle of heart melting and Holy Spirit filling occur.

      All the logic of our blogging aside, all the intellect paused for a moment, there is truly a spiritual realm here. Those who have encountered this understand. When God touches earth, reaches a heart, enter grace. Enter miracles. Enter heart softening and God walking through life with us. All God wants I humility and a request for him to enter our life, forgive us and be our guide.

      In any event, I hope that somehow I can shred a little light on the deception that true grace is a selfish belief to skirt death and to get away with misbehavior. It grieves me that our culture has gotten so light and selfish and we need to debunk the myth that Christian faith is light and tright. The receiving of grace is for the humble heart and the heavy soul. Not the proud. But, grace is the only option. Men and women can never undo the wrongs of world and self by being a better goodie two shoes than the rest. The burden of darkness is too profound to work our way out. When we however believe this miracle of an unconditional loving and forgiving God, we are fertile ground for miracle making and Holy Spirit invitation. Enter forgiveness. Enter shocking, anti world economy, free grace.

    • 

      thank you for your comments!

  31. 

    Well said! I recommend Philip Yancey’s ‘What’s So Amazing About Grace?’

  32. 

    Bit of an own goal here! Unless it was intentionally promoting Christianity? Hilarious.

  33. 

    I wouldn’t blame the first comment for flaming the author. The title is misleading actually. Well for me, I’ll say that’s why we Christians are not of this world, since if Christianity works this way as you mentioned.

  34. 

    You are a joke my friend. You know nothing of God nor of Christ. God knew you before you were born. He knows you and your every thought before you think it. When you accept Christ you accept that he have himself up for us and he died to forgive us for out sins. Through Jesus son of God we are saved, through his blood we are cleansed. We are all sinners and by the love of God and of Jesus we are saved. If you have never read the bible I suggest you stop condemning things that you do not know. Even for your ignorance god is far above all that he will forgive you. Ask for forgiveness you poor fool. That’s is all I have to say to morons like you. In Jese even you have hope. I used to be just like you. But when I had no one God was there for me and I hope he unveils your eyes as he did mine.

  35. 

    if your storybook was true, I find it funny your warped idea of gods love. The relationship your hold with god and jesus isn’t some friendship, your not walking through the woods skipping and dancing. you are being an obedient slave who worships him and strokes his ego and if you don’t you go to hell. seems to me god is a bit of tyrant and is extremely egotisticals and will have anybody who is willing to get on their knees and worship him. if you want to be that pathetic then i really to pitty you all.

    • 

      It is actually your belief or lack of it which sends you to hell. Every tongue must confess that he is Lord. He does not need us to ‘stroke his ego’ He is God. You seem very upset and dissatisfied with Him. may God give you peace and understanding.

  36. 

    People like to make fun of Christianity, perhaps for its stance on gay marriage, child rape, evolution, or religious pluralism, hypocrisy, bizarre links with pagan festivals, stupidity and lack of logic and evidence but, these are just the tip of the iceberg. If you really want to see how messed up Christianity is, just consider one of its fundamental beliefs, the doctrine of worshiping a child killing, plague sending psychopath. Then you’ll see how bizarre it really is. If you’re going to make fun of Christianity, you might as well hit it in its gut

    • 

      While we are talking about guts and all, did you even read Exodus? if not please go and read it before you comment and call God names like plague sending or child killer. He gave Pharaoh ten chances to free his people. Ten chances! and each time the Pharaoh said no, or disobeyed him, he send a plague, which was a consequence. Are you saying that if someone does something wrong there should not be consequences? If I went up the president and smacked him, and then got thrown in jail because of it, does that give me the right to call him a tyrant or cruel? No it does not. I received the consequence of jail for assaulting the president, just like Pharaoh received the consequences of the plagues for disobeying God. If he was a psychopath, he would not have made mankind; we sin and insult Him all the time, but he blesses and loves us in return. Wanna know something interesting? if you were the only person left on this earth, saying the things you say, Jesus would still come down and die on the cross for you. Not because he wants you to stroke his ego, but because he loves you .

  37. 

    Another one—you tee up your golf ball for the first hole of the Masters and they bring the green jacket and trophy out for you before you ever take a stroke, telling you that no matter how you play, you’re the champion.
    The negative comments (especially the first one) just don’t get it. Christ introduced a whole new economy. If we could be saved through good works and keeping account of those good works then Moses would have been our savior, not Jesus. It is an economy in reverse—like the last worker hired in vineyard parable (Matthew 20) we are paid the full day’s wages even though we haven’t earned them.
    Great blog…thanks.

  38. 

    Reblogged this on Tarmangani and commented:
    First time I’ve ever re-blogged something, but this is too good not to share.

  39. 

    We need to make sure we also understand that justification by faith is also means there is work to be done because of your faith. Read James 14:-26. This needs also to be addressed when teaching the doctrine of justification through faith. Remember faith without works is dead! you have no faith at all if you do not work out your own faith.

  40. 

    I wouldn’t normally comment on things like this, but the theology in this article is so off from true Christian theology. In fact, the one passage of scripture used has changed the entire meaning by conveniently placing a different word where it is needed to support the argument in this article, where no English translation would place this word here. The original Greek word for “sin” can be translated to mean “work?” No, not in any context. This can be easily determined by a simple word study.

    Furthermore, this passage in Romans 6 is completely taken out of context for the sake of this “argument.” The process of “sanctification,” which means the lifelong process of becoming holy, or righteous in God’s eyes is actually discussed in chapter 6. This has a lot to do with what we DO (our works).

    Justification refers to the moment of salvation/the moment we accept Jesus into our lives. Jesus has already paid the price for our sin (incredible news) so that the moment that we say “Yes,” He says we belong. The price of sin was already paid by Jesus’ PERFECTLY lived life. He took our place. Does this mean we live however we want, doing whatever we want? No. In fact, our actions should therefore reflect the status of our hearts. (When we truly understand this beautiful exchange)

    Sanctification (discussed in this same chapter) refers to the process by which we are passionately determined to live righteously, because we know what we’ve been given. We know how great the gift is. Paul (the same author of this particular passage) even writes about taking advantage of grace–that we are not really followers of Christ if we continue in sin.

    Romans 6:22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, (rather than slaves to sin, or even to righteousness–the law) the fruit (result) you get leads to sanctification (the process of becoming righteous) and its end, eternal life. 23
    That happens to be the preceding passage to the one referenced in this article.

    Without even referencing any other passages of scripture or any other theology derived from the Bible in whole, I am fairly certain that this chapter ALONE puts to rest the argument in this article. I’d recommend doing some personal study. In fact, there are a lot of scholars who have already done the work for you.

  41. 

    I mean no disrespect, but as an atheist who grew up in the Catholic and then the Christian faiths, I feel like there’s a bit of a mixed message here. To start, you do a decent job of illustrating the way reward without work removes meaning from various pursuits in life – then you point this same principle out as the foundation of born again Christianity, but in this context you seem convinced that it is a positive thing. Some (myself included) see this as one of the glaring moral flaws of born again Christianity. Why is what is clearly a negative formula in all other areas of a person’s life somehow inherently a positive in their spiritual growth? Is it not arguably just as detrimental to an individual’s character to simply hand them salvation without the need for effort or improvement as it is to hand them the A, or the paycheck? You cheekily imply that this is definitely a positive – something that sets Christianity apart from the rest of the world in a good way – but you don’t really give a compelling reason for *why*. And this is not really any fault of yours, either – I’ve never heard this paradox resolved in a meaningful, satisfying way by anyone in the faith.

    For all the obvious issues Catholicism has, I’ve always respected that they at least set god up as a being that factors deeds into the equation *before* solving it. There’s just something a little bit dangerously convenient about none of your actions having cosmic consequence (when you believe in that sort of thing [I don't]).

    • 

      Your questions are spot on – true grace and forgiveness, and even righteousness, given regardless of any effort on my part surely leads me to put in less effort, not more? Absolutely right! The message of Christianity isn’t just scandalous in that sense, it’s plain silly. So silly that the Bible even asks the question of itself: ‘What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?’ (Romans 6:1)

      But the answer that the Bible gives (which I do find meaningful and satisfying) is found in answer to your second paragraph, which isn’t quite right. You say that if Christianity is true it leads to ‘none of your actions having cosmic consequence,’ but that’s actually not right – our bad actions certainly have cosmic consequence, and so do our good actions. The consequence of our bad actions, however, led to cosmic consequences in that God entered human history and allowed himself to be crucified. No other religion comes up with consequences for sin that are anything like as cosmic as that; most would force me to suffer for my own sin, or at least sit around for a long time waiting for it to be dealt with in some impersonal way.

      That’s why the Christian message is called The Good News! It’s good news for eternity, because you’re accepted before you do anything, but it’s good news right now as well, because that chapter in Romans explains that dying in Christ to our sin raises us to new life in righteousness – Christians are set free from sin, not to go straight back to it, but to lead a better life, and do it with joy!

    • 

      Greenpatches, yes, you’ve correctly understood me then! That’s what makes Christianity so absurd. You’re spot on. However, I’d disagree slightly with your statement, “There’s just something a little bit dangerously convenient about none of your actions having cosmic consequences.” Christianity claims that our actions DID have cosmic consequences (a great phrase, by the way!): just look at the cross of Jesus and see the cosmic consequences for our sins. But, at the end of the day, you’re right, it’s absurd that the perfect Son of God took those cosmic consequences away from us. Thanks!

    • 

      Hey greenpatches,
      Thanks for commenting, it’s great to have lots of people with differing outlooks comment on these sort of things as it challenges people to think about what they actually believe.

      Just so you know my stand (in my faith and later this blog in specific) I am a Christian and I believe that I am saved from sin and thus god’s wrath (hell) through faith alone in Jesus’ death and resurrection; works are a natural outflow of this. (Sorry don’t really want to bore you with this as sooo many people have already said similar things but it is important to know my viewpoint on this topic and so you know the background of my opinions).
      First off I just wanted to clarify that the author wasn’t trying to take the meaning out of these other activities if the reward came before the work as you said, he was simply trying to point out that the Christianity differs from social norms and other religions in the way that the two are switched around.
      One of your questions was why is it positive that Christianity is different to other religions. Well I think that by Christianity being different from other faiths and man’s ideals it can be deduced that the faith is not simply based on another religion or a human’s random idealistic ideas of life and death; this is positive as it is evidence to suggest (along with historical fact) what is truth and what is a lie.
      Also, yes it is detrimental to be given ‘a free ride’ in life; being given something for free that you would usually need to work for to receive –> this is because if you needed to repeat what you were supposed to do the first time you wouldn’t have practiced it before. The difference with faith though is that we can’t work to achieve salvation (being saved from sin) so forgiveness from God is a gift; something we can’t obtain through works. The punishment of sin is death, and unless you live up to God’s standards (which is impossible) God sent Jesus so that we could have a hope of a future with him.
      Also, the statement about our actions having no cosmic consequence has been addressed by two others so I won’t say too much on that, I just wanted to add in that everything we do has a consequence whether you believe in Christianity or not. A Christians sin is payed for by Jesus on the cross, not all the consequences of our actions.
      Anyways hope this might have helped a little bit,

      God bless,
      Ji. A

  42. 

    Reblogged this on ElectedLadyKeepingitReal and commented:
    This too on point not to share or reblog!!
    keeping it real,
    Elected Lady xx

  43. 

    I’m an atheist. I know about this religion because I was forced into it. I believe the religion is stuck in the past more than anything. I agree on a lot of points you make. I have read the bible, I have read every single word and to this day I still don’t have any care for this religion that seems to be stuck so far in the past, it hasn’t evolved much at all. I’m not into the whole god thing, but I do believe that everyone has the right to one and its not my place to attack the religion unless it attacks me first.

  44. 

    Hi there, i’d just like to say that i find all of the squabbling between what god is and how he will let you into heaven is slightly amusing. Im gay and not majourly religous, however my grandmother was. im always being told that my lifestyle will send me to hell and such, and i will go to hell for not believing in god, But i was brought up on the belief that god loves all of his children without doubt, he holds no grudges, he does not punish those us unless its an extreme case,(rapist,murder etc). i was also told that even if im not religous i still have a place in heaven with my family when they all go up.

    as i said im not a big christian, i prefer to believe that we come back as something else after we die. You should all stop this petty fighting over who or what god is and just focus on your own depiction of god. just a thought..

  45. 

    Are you a parent? I’m wondering what you expect from you’re Infant before you give him/her your gift of Unconditional love?

    • 

      Nothing, of course! However, they must be my child.

      • 

        Hope Stands, This is the best answer of all those you have given! (They must be my child)
        I’m struck by the number of people responding to your post, who claim to be atheist, or non-believers…clearly, however, seeking answers as they have posted comments.
        The world has very different values from those of Christianity, and as Paul says it appears ‘foolishness’ to those who don’t get it. But for those who begin to grasp the extent of this astonishing gift of Grace, the whole of our world is turned upside down…we learn to see Jesus’ horrifying death as a ‘triumph’ and to find a way of living in this world that makes better sense than anything else the world has to offer.
        Your own courtesy is so refreshing, in your replies.
        Overall among these comments no squabbling that I can detect – more about people exploring further…and that is all to the good.

      • 

        one last question, (for me anyway) Do you subscribe to the belief that we are Gods children?

      • 

        God makes us his children by the death of his Child, Jesus Christ. Only through trust in Christ do we become his children. Another question: are we all created by God? Yes, everyone is created by God.

      • 

        Did they make a choice to be your child?

  46. 

    One thing that needs adding to this interesting discussion is the Absolute Holiness of God. His pristine purity is beyond any measure or our ability to comprehend. His righteousness is flawless. When we truly glimpse as Isaiah did in Chap 6 Yahweh’s sheer holiness we see our own sin, hopelessness and inability to please Him or reach His standards.

    For us these glimpses come from His revealed Word. The more we grasp of His Holiness and Righteousness, His utter abhorrence of sin and evil the more we are astonished at His grace and love and the more we revel in His mercy that saves us.

    God does not need us except to manifest His glory to watching myriads of beings. We add nothing to His grace by our choices or doings. It is grace that saves us and nothing else. He chose us and by some mysterious means pours out His love and mercy on us.

    Lord help me to get a sense of your amazing greatness and holiness so that like Isaiah I can worship you and be ready to say “here am I. Send me”.

  47. 

    I am an atheist, but I would like to explain this concept is based on unconditional love.
    It is the strongest love among all, which is to love and contribute without expecting for anything. And to let you to learn to provide unconditional love for people, Jesus will have to be the role model and love you unconditionally.

  48. 

    You guys are all morons. Just read Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason to understand why that whole “Jesus died for your sins” part is a pile of shit larger than any dinosaur could ever excrete.

  49. 

    My parents loved me from the beginning without really “knowing” me per se or me having to earn any of their favor. What less for God who is our Father in Heaven? The writer seems to believe relationships must always be transactional… Not necessarily on earth and definitely not so in Heaven

  50. 

    Shalom brother and sisters :),
    Jesus bless you and love you all so much. Being a believer of Christ, its mean you will need to have a total surrender to the Lord from and by The Holy Spirit. Without The Holy Spirit, you cant do anything. It is by Grace that you receive the Holy Spirit. Through confession, and faith believe in and of Jesus died on the cross and you shall receive it freely while ask for your self (Ask and you shall receive) or by someone laying hand upon you. I believe, at the very moment you receive the Holy Spirit (with to in the proof of Speakin in tounge sooner or later in being your Christian Spiritual experiences) you will and shall feel and followed what The Holy Spirit will tell you. I Believe, that there are so many confussion among Christian are because through out their journey of being believer of Christ, they step/put aside in/on those “Spiritual” journey and use all their entire logic of faith (religion / LAW) in trough out their entire life. You need to listen what Father tell you about, and tell you to do (And He will tell you to move, and walk in and by and through Him only, and you will experience Jesus like never before..) and to be frankly and honest..the way and the mission never been easy, He shall make you Holy and you will be an outcast of this world since and because He is OUT OF THIS WORLD. but He love us soo much and wont give us thing that outside of our proportion, and He always and shall guide us.

    please do remember…

    Ephesians 6:12

    “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

    Shalom brothers and sisters..

    Faith Hope and Love..and for the greatest of These is LOVE.

    Pure everlasting love, without it all is like catching the wind with a net.. :)

    miracle will ceased, speak in tounge will be silent, knowledge will be gone. but love..love endures, love prevail, and love never end..Amen

    In Jesus name The Lord Father Jesus bless you all, and love you all so much. greeting from Indonesia God bless, and cheers ; )

  51. 

    You don’t even realize how messed up Christianity is, until you read how “Christians” fight each other on a blog comment section. Period.

    • 

      divide an ocean, raise a dead man, cleans the lepper, walk on water, heal the sick, God died for His creation on a wooded cross so His blood can heal and cleans sinner. Hit your head in the “logic” part right? haha Amen brother, God bless you abundantly. You shall receive His wisdom and will love and experience Him through out your life. Just believe, confess it ,ask for His forgiveness of your sins, and ask for the Holy Spirit and He shall give you freely and you receive it, and trust Him, your life will flip out upside down ; ). Challenge Him, try it by asking questions to Him, and He shall answers you my friend. God bless you abundantly!

      • 

        Different opinions aside i am blessed to see people spending a friday night agonizing over pursuit of truth. Whatever your pain, however angry you are with the world, however screwew up you feel, i choose pray that God visit you in mighty spirit and reveal his divine love and power over all emotion and logic tonight. I saw a suicidal and angry person close to me melt in this holy spirit, and he now leads a powerful mininsty where the unseen spirit of God is changing lives. Lord Jesus I pray fo your glory and honor, that you visit every person reading this blog tonight. Set a revival spiritual fire in our generation. Amen.

    • 

      ScrewedUp, that’s a fine observation, thanks for your input.

  52. 

    FUCK EVERYTHING !
    LISTEN TO MAYHEM
    SMOKE METH
    HAIL SATAN!

  53. 

    I believe in the flying spaghetti monster, he dies regularly for my sins.. many more times than jesus ever did..

  54. 

    Are we not all God’s children? When my wife and I became parents, those children were mine and hers. We didn’t have to wait until they were old enough to understand that we loved them, and then await their decision as to whether or not they would like to become our children. They were our children from the start. We are all God’s children. He loves us all. Would you send your child into eternal damnation because they misunderstand you because of what others tell them? You would damn them forever because they believe in evolution, or think gay marriage is ok? Do you think God would do this to His children? Would He help them make sense of the world? Is it ok for us to try to make peace with the world we live in, while still serving our God? Must we fight with non-believers? Must we fight with each other? Is that what God wanted? Is that what Jesus died for?

    Will God only guide us when we ask? Only give us shelter if we beg? Are we ONLY Christians because we want to go to Heaven and are terrified of Hell? If that is you, I think you’ve missed the point, and I’m saddened to know you go through life worried about a Father that would throw you into a pit of fire because you did something wrong.

    I don’t claim to know everything. Still, I know this. God is my Father and my friend. He is gladdened by my praise of His Holy Name. He loved me before that though. He loved me when I took His name in vain. He loved me when I didn’t include Him in my life. I find it hard to believe in a God who loves people and then throws them away if they don’t figure out the right way to live before they die. This life on Earth is not an experiment, or a test to see who wins and who loses. This life is a blessing. A blessing that can be so huge if you let it. Yes, after I die, I’ll be in Heaven with others from this life, but now… Now we are here. Put here to love and keep making the world a better place, by letting Him work through us.

    Stop all the divisive nonsense, and show a little love and compassion for your fellow man… Your fellow Christians. Bickering does nothing but divide God’s church into more and more denominations, and cause more and more heartache in this life.

    For those of you who came here to squabble, and puff out your chest to show what a big Christian you are… Well, I suggest you stop reading your newer contemporary translations of the Bible for a while, and go for something a bit older. Try the KJV. In there, you’ll find a distinction between eternal and everlasting life. There’s a reason for the choice of words. Get back to me when you figure it out. Until then, my family and I will sleep safe under the forever present hand of God, who has protected and guided us all since we were put on this planet. I pray for peace on those who have hearts full of misguided energy, that has manifested into hate. I pray for continued blessings of peace to all who have found it. Godspeed to you all.

    • 

      thanks for your comments, Derek. We could all definitely use more unity.

    • 

      Brother, our children are born or adopted into our families. They don’t just barge in as strangers and set up house. So to become God’s children we must be born again as Christ taught in John 3.

      In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word “qedma” is translated as “eternal” and “everlasting” . The Hebrew word “ôlâm” is always translated “everlasting”, However both Hebrew words can mean “eternal” in both past and future aspects, according to Strong.

      However, in the New Testament, the Greek word translated into both words, “eternal” is “aiōnios”. In only one instance in Jude 1:6KJV was the word “ἀΐ́διος” translated into “everlasting”, and can mean both “eternal past & future” or “future only”.

  55. 

    Love the post, intrigued by the comments. We should think far and beyond debating about the nit grit of theology, lets go out there and really love people with the love of Christ. There is a place and importance of right thinking of God, not only that but to BE the hands and feet of God too.

    I hope all who read and commented reflect that sitting behind a keyboard and simply punching out comments without going out to love your family, friends and community is empty.

    Peace.

  56. 

    Rather ignorant

  57. 

    Hello,
    I see a lot of comments here and it seems to me that the authors of most of them are misunderstanding the essence of this little essay. I personally think it was very simple and well written.
    First and foremost I am a Born again Christian. I believe Sam Kee was talking about Grace, which is unmerited favor, when he wrote this piece. Christ died for our sins so that we might be saved. That is a free gift! All we have to do is accept it. Confess with our mouths and believe with our hearts. Every simple indeed…for some. I think the author was trying to explain what salvation is like using situations most can easily understand. Like getting a new job and getting paid a year’s wages before even starting, without earning it etc. ..
    Because of Christ’s sacrifice we don’t have to earn our way to heaven. Because work without Faith is empty useless.
    However, we now are new creations once we accept Jesus, we have to live for Him and in doing so, we can’t help doing good deeds too! Because Faith without works is dead. (Read James 2:14-26)

    Great job Brother. I hope you do not get discouraged by certain comments. I think they mean well. Keep writing even if it changes the life of only one person. You will be rewarded!
    God bless you.

  58. 
    Jason Appleyard March 29, 2014 at 7:17 am

    Hope Stands, I really enjoyed reading your post, very well written. Here are just some of my thoughts on whether or not Christianity really “stands alone”.

    With regards to the comments on Islam, here are the 5 pillars:
    1.Declaring that there is no other God but Allah.
    2.Regular prayer (5 times a day)
    3.Fasting & Self-control during Ramadan
    4.Giving 2.5% of savings to the poor and needy
    5.Pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in your life(if you are able to)

    So comparing this to your statement about Christianity, you’re basically saying that Christians only need to fulfill the first one(accepting Jesus and being “reborn”, which is basically the same as accepting Allah as God in Islam).

    However, after reading many of your replies to comments, you seem to agree with the idea that simply accepting Jesus and being “reborn” isn’t the end, you have to act and live your life to show this acceptance and this belief is true(and you aren’t just paying lip service to God).
    So comparing this to the 5 pillars of Islam, you’re basically saying that the second to the fifth pillar should come naturally after the first pillar. Not that Christians have to pray 5 times a day or go to Mecca but rather the idea of showing that you mean it when you say you have truly accepted Jesus.

    In that case, how different is Christianity from Islam? And does Christianity really stand alone?

    If you still stand firm on your argument, then would you consider just the “first step” to be enough? Will a man who commits horrible sins and does not live his life for Jesus be saved simply because Jesus’ love is unconditional and he is our savior as soon as we accept him? Or perhaps simply because the man repents and says “I’m sorry”.

    This also brings in the debate on whether laws and justice systems should be abolished for Christians(and people of several other religions) because God has already forgiven us as long as we have asked for it and it is not in Man’s position to forgive sins, only God can grant forgiveness.

    Just some food for thought and really out of curiosity on the way you think. I hope you can enlighten me and try to answer the questions posed.

    • 

      Jason, sorry I am late in responding. I just now read your excellent comments. Yes, I still stand behind the statement that Christianity stands alone. Here’s why. You suggested that I said in my comments that I said that being reborn wasn’t enough. I never said that. Being given the gift of salvation IS enough. And no more is needed. Zero. None. Nothing. We are not saved by our good works or sincerity. We are saved by Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection. Period. Nothing we do adds to that. Nothing we do takes away from that. And it’s not like the first pillar of Islam, in any way, shape, or form. Here’s why. The first pillar, as you said, is, “Declaring that there is no other god but Allah.” Recognizing that there is no other god is not the same as salvation in Jesus. According to Christianity, even the demons and devil believe that there is no other god but God (Jesus). But, the demons are not saved by their monotheistic belief. So, then does obedience to the true God save us? Again, Christianity says, “No!” Because even the demons obey Jesus, as in when he commands them to do things. So, obedience does not save us. What saves us then? Jesus’ death and resurrection. The first pillar has nothing to do with the bloody cross, on which Jesus made atonement for our sins and rose again for our justification. Nothing at all. Christianity gives us a gift, not mere recognition, not mere requirements. Christianity does not give us a question, but an answer. It does not give us the God we should follow, per se, but a gift from that God to us. That’s why Christianity stands alone. It gives us the greatest gift, that of salvation and reconciliation with God, before we do anything to merit it. But, someone might start saying, “Then what about those who accept the gift but then their lives don’t match up?” You’re kidding me, right? Sometimes, I feel like people really just don’t want to hear the thick answer. If my brother kills someone, is he still my brother? Absolutely. He’s still in my family. His actions did not change his standing. If God brings me into his family, then my actions do not change my status. Then, I can hear people refuting, does that mean we can just do whatever we want? What a ridiculous question! Of course you can’t. Just like you couldn’t before, so you still can’t now. God’s laws haven’t changed. Grace does not erase the law, but it fulfills it. Christians are under the law of Christ, and must seek to bind themselves to him, following him as his slaves. But that has nothing to do with the act of Jesus on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and rise for our complete justification. Hope that makes sense…let me know. Thanks, friend! –sam

  59. 
    Samantha Tomlinson March 29, 2014 at 8:03 am

    I can see why you would see how backwards this sounds. . .but its not the whole of christianity. . . . whoever told you that “God loves you wants you to allow him to come into your heart” . . . thats bogus. And what I mean by that is many christians view it like this. . . there is no repercushion for our wrong doings. .. . but thats a lie. . .
    Why would God (who christians say) create a world to come die for the worlds people and say “Hey . . it doesnt matter that you just commited murder. . .go ahead. . .you can come on in to parradise” . . . . christians that do believe this, dont fully undertand the Bible. . .
    TRUTH:
    this is what christianity truly is. . . lets just say that you got a speeding ticket.. . .and so now your in court trying to plee to the judge to let you go . . . but the judge (God the Father) isnt going to just let you off the hook. . . No, because your fine HAS to be paid . .. and so in the judgment seat God the Father did a background check and ended up bringing up other things that you need to pay for as well 1. the time you lied to your boss so youd keep your job 2. the time you lied to your wife about sleeping with another women. ..and God said “there must be someone to pay this fine” and the end result is that you deserve death for these things. . .why would God a Perfect judge. . . allow a man/women live any longer . . .
    so there you are . . . the gaurds begin to handcuff you and are ready to take you to your execution. . . and then This is when Jesus Christ stands up and says “Father, stop! i will take Sam Kees place” and so the gaurds come and handcuff Jesus. . . they take him and crucify him in one of the most blood draining ways (on a cross)

    Now you can still say . thats bogus. . . why would Jesus just give away “free tickets to heaven”. . . .
    But look at what Jesus DID do. . . If you place your faith in Jesus Christ and if you believe that he really did rise from the grave on the third day. . . then you can have this gift of salvation. . . .and as a result of this gift. . .this wonderful freedom He paid the price for. . . then it is only natural that you will want to live for Christ. . .you will produce fruit.. .youll be more gracious and loving towards your wife/ husband yelling at you because you remember the grace and love God has shown you.
    So the justification part is still there but thats not what christianity is completely about. . . Jesus paid our price. . .(but he didnt pay everyones price) . . .if you refuse God. . He will refuse you

    • 
      Jason Appleyard March 29, 2014 at 9:27 am

      It makes a lot of sense when you put it a chronological way, in a sort of timeline.
      1. You commit your sins.
      2. God judges you and
      3.Someone has to take the sentence(supposedly you)
      4. But no, Jesus already took the sentence for you when he died for us on the cross.
      Steps 1 to 3 came one after another and on the surface it seems very logical.
      BUT step 4 came before step 1 in the bible. So essentially when you rearrange it logically it becomes:

      4.Jesus died for us on the cross
      1.You commit a sin
      2.God judges you (but Jesus already took the sentence for you)
      3. You get off scott-free?

      So it boils back down to the same points as before, where it doesn’t explain anything and people still get handed out free tickets to heaven(generally one of the greatest perks of being religious).

      Another Point of Confusion,
      Like you mentioned, “if you place your faith in Jesus Christ and if you believe that he really did rise from the grave on the third day. . . then you can have this gift of salvation” and because of this acceptance of Jesus & beliefs, you become more gracious and loving..

      Placing your faith in Jesus Christ is “Event A” and it is not necessarily linked to being more gracious and loving and not committing crimes(Event B).
      “Event B” does not always occur because of “Event A”. If you say Christians that continue committing crimes despite accepting Jesus Christ are misled then would you still consider them Christians?

      With that said,
      To what extent can people not fully understand God’s word and still be considered Christians?

  60. 

    This is the gospel. Thank you.

  61. 

    I like the title, catchy. When I walk into eternity, I put my hope Jesus will be there as I accepted his free gift of salvation. The world who is blind to that simple fact will bash it, mock it, try to hide it. I am humbled the Creator would send his son to die such a horrible death…Thank you Jesus, you changed my life.

  62. 
    Farah Anverkhan March 29, 2014 at 11:00 am

    This message is in regard to the article, “You don’t even realize how messed up Christianity is” There are a few things you wrote which I want to clarify with you

    1) “Are you sick of earning favor? Why not start receiving favor? Christianity stands alone” I want to make the point here that Christianity does not stand alone, all religions including Islam talk about earning favour from the lord. Love, family, good health all down to the last breath we take is a favour from our lord and we show our appreciation by our actions and the way we live our lives not just by our words.

    2) You say Jesus loves you and you don’t have to do good things to earn his love? Yes Jesus loves us but what is religion without teaching and doing good things in life. Are you trying to say the priests that were found to be pedophiles are loved by Jesus regardless and they do not need to do good things. Or that in general murderers, rapists everybody is loved by Jesus. What does that religion then teach?

    3) You mention Muslims needing to earn God’s favour by fulfilling the five pillars of Islam. Remember GOD does not need us! We need God! The five pillars of Islam are for OUR benefit.
    Shahadah: Is just simply acknowledging your creator and faith (which Jesus did)
    Prayer: Taking time out to meditate and ask for the things you need (which Jesus did)
    Fasting: Detoxification and purification of the body and acknowledging millions of people who have no food and water go through (which Jesus did – and not by giving up chocolate for lent – he fasted 40 days and 40 nights in the desert in the same way that Muslims do)
    Charity: Well God doesn’t need money – this is to help US and our neighbours.
    Hajj the pilgrimage: The one place where you will not distinguish a beggar from a king because everybody is dressed the same and performing the same actions (which Jesus wanted – UNITY)

  63. 
    Farah Anverkhan March 29, 2014 at 11:04 am

    When talking about Salvation – Every chapter in the Holy Quran starts with In the name of Allah, the most compassionate, the most merciful

    The verse in the Quran which speaks of forgiveness says –

    Say: O My servants who have transgressed against their own souls, despair not of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surah az-Zumar 39:53)

    Hes another example : “O son of Adam, as long as you call upon Me and put your hope in Me, I have forgiven you for what you have done and I do not mind. O son of Adam, if your sins were to reach the clouds of the sky and then you would seek My forgiveness, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, if you were to come to Me with sins that are close to filling the earth and then you would meet Me without ascribing any partners with Me, I would certainly bring to you forgiveness close to filling it.”

    But in order to help us, protect us from sins, the five pillars play a pivotal role. Like I said, acknowledging the existence of God, charity, fasting, praying helps us to protect our souls from sin.

    And a genuine intention is needed when asking for forgiveness with a resolve not to continue to do harmful things thinking “Hey who cares?! I HAVE GUARANTEED SALVATION!”

  64. 
    Farah Anverkhan March 29, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    And its a shame that as a practicing Christian and a pastor – you do not.

  65. 

    Have u ever considered then, perhaps, that what the bible speaks of, of the reward before work, could be true and that in reality, it has been distorted to keep us in obedience to those who are in power?

    Although, some of what could be written in the bible, might not have been as true as it were in the past, but well, this is just a question that I hope is food for thought :)

  66. 
    Farah Anverkhan March 29, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    I dont think God needs to speak in riddles. The message is clear: good deeds = reward and one of the problems with the Bible is – the Bible we know of today is not the original Bible – it has one been translated from Aramaic to Latin to English and therefore words changed meanings distorted from their original context. The Bible has also undergone so many other changes during history where people thought ok to add their own opinions/accounts into it (like most recently on gay marriages). A true holy book should be word directly from God.

    • 

      Farah, maybe this will help. Since you said, “good deeds=reward.” Let me put it like this. Jesus’ good deed on the cross = reward. So we don’t have to earn our salvation. Jesus earned it for us. That’s how Christianity is different than Islam. In Christianity, we are saved by a bloody God-Man who died on a cross to make atonement for our sins and rose again for our complete justification. Islam does not have that. But, that does not mean that Christians can simply do whatever they want. Why are you accusing me of saying that? I never said that. The law hasn’t gone away. Christians still have to live how God wants them to, just like before. However, Jesus has fulfilled the law, so we don’t have to. We follow Christ out of pure joy! Not obligation and not to earn our salvation.

  67. 
    Noneofyourbuisness March 29, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    People still believe there is an invisible zombie that lives in the sky and grants wishes? !?

    • 

      Yes, and, might I ask, people still believe that something (nature and all that we see) comes from nothing? Didn’t science do away with “spontaneous generation” a long time ago? I appreciate your comment, but just wanted to answer your question: yes, I still believe.

  68. 

    How naive it is to assume that the reality we experience daily is the only reality. We are not special but we wish we were so we created something to love us. A god. A god who loves you so much that he sends his only son to die for you. Do you see how the story is already manipulating you. You are being manipulated into thinking your special, by being made to think that a powerful creator loves you. Then there is death. We all die eventually but many people are absolutely terrified because they have no idea what happens when we do, indeed, die. Heaven – if jesus saves you, you have a one way ticket to the greatest thing in eternity. Where evil does not exist and where you can escape ‘the horrible existence that is your life’. Again manipulated. If you don’t see this and how it is true, then you are a lost spirit. Discover existence for yourself, don’t be manipulated.

    • 

      Thanks for your ideas. It sounds like you’re a deep thinker. Keep it up! And, for the record, I have been totally manipulated, as you say, by Jesus Christ. Of course you’re not suggesting that you and your ideas have not been manipulated by anything? God bless as you continue your journey!

  69. 

    Preach it, Pastor Sam, preach it!!
    Grace is receiving what we don’t deserve, it’s against the world’s system of ‘do good get good and do bad get bad’. That’s why the world cannot accept when salvation is free (not actually, it costs Jesus His life). Yet ironically, the world can accept free material things without doubting when they buy one-get-one-free.

  70. 

    My parttner and I absolutely love your blog and find
    many of your post’s to bbe precisely what I’m looking for.
    Does one offer guest writers to write content for yourself?

    I wouldn’t mind composing a post or elaborating on
    a lot of the subjects you write concerning here.
    Again, awesome web log!

    • 

      I typically don’t allow guest writers, unless I know the person personally. But, if you send me something, between 400-500 words, I’d be happy to review it. Thanks and God bless! Oh, and be sure to tell me more about yourself. My email is info@hopestands.com

  71. 

    All of you people love talking about this “love of God”.
    What if you can’t feel that “love”? What of those who feel abandonned?

    So easy to talk about “love of God” when everything going right in life, or if you’re delusional. How do you convince a scientist that the tooth fairy loves him?

    As much as he wants to believe, his mind won’t allow him to accept it, he needs something else. Christianity will abandon those of us, just like eveyrone else, because its “our” fault we can’t see what “you” people see/feel

    • 

      Nappy, you’re right, it’s hard to discern God’s love, just like it’s hard to discern love, in general. As a rule of thumb, humans cannot control their feelings. So, if we try to “feel” love, then we cannot produce that feeling on our own. So, you can trust your feelings, but don’t put your trust in them. Instead, seek the love of God in the means that he has provided. in this case, look to the cross of Jesus to understand God’s love. See what Jesus did there. And if you’re having trouble believing, ask yourself why. If you’re serious about an answer to this question, then I encourage you to read the gospel of John. Allow its words to do for you what you cannot do on your own. Thanks for taking the time to post here and interact, you add a lot of value to this conversation. God bless, Sam

  72. 

    Does the writer even know God deeply ? I bet he does’t. If he does, he wouldn’t write this

  73. 

    Either or neither you people believe, Jesus was representative of God.

  74. 
    Atieh Alsamara March 30, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    Yet another superfisual interpretation. It is clear that the auther did not read the bubble, or maybe read it but tend to ignore some messages and focus on others. Not going to waste my time and energy to express my full opinion to this pethatic and offensive article to Christianity and Christians. All I want to say that christinanity has a peacefully message, and it articulaty a peacfull and clean relationship with others. For those who don’t believe then no one is forcing you to, just be respectfull. My advice to this auther is to use his great writhing skills on something optimistic..

  75. 

    Reblogged this on Reason To Sing and commented:
    Such an amazing perspective!

  76. 

    Keep your lousy opinion to yourself. And why is it that you can’t receive anything out of love and grace you obviously have had a rough time with your parents or something did they never show you love or grace when you did not deserve it

  77. 

    When we pray for good results, we are asking that we sit for the paper smoothly; whatever we’ve studied for comes out and that we sit for our papers with a clear mind.
    When we pray for our career, we are not asking to step in to the office on the first day and get promoted, we’re asking God to keep us from politics and have a smooth day at work.
    I’m pretty sure u’re quite shallow about Christinity, just because someone covey Christinity wrongly to you, that doesn’t mean the whole Christian Humanity is the same.

  78. 

    people is on different levels with an understanding with their relationship with God. don’t judge. it is sad to see these comments and everybody tells you they have a relationship with Jesus, and the Father and the Holy Spirit. focus on God and forget the rest

  79. 

    the only way is through Jesus. If Jesus is a hoax, 11 disciples was crucified, stoned, tortured, humiliated in what they believed was the truth. they believed something and saw something on earth that blew their mind. if it wasn’t the truth, it is the best kept secret ever. only Jesus as part of God was taken up alive into heaven. my God is alive and the medium i am working through. my redeemer is alive.

  80. 

    Why did you change ‘sin’ to ‘our works’ in Romans 6:23?

  81. 

    Hallo Benjamin. I usually don’t reply to people because I don’t like to argue around the word of God because it is straight forward. The people must just read the whole bible and all the answers is there that you need. I don’t understand your question but in my life I am focussing on the positive side of life. If I focus on sin, I will do sin. If I focus on Gods voice, I will do what God want me to do and sin wont be an issue. If you love somebody, you don’t want to do something that will upset that person. In a sence you respect that person and love that person. If you really love God, your way of living will be according to Gods will. A true relationship means that you know a lot of that person and that person knows a lot about you. Galations 5 verse 22 onwards will be part of your life if you love God. TO be a son of God is a way of living. We don’t kill people to show what we believe in. we give people a choice and if they don’t listen, it is in Gods hands.

  82. 

    hope i like your comments. keep it up

  83. 

    Thank you for sharing this…hope stands, indeed!

    We are already offered a free gift and it is only up to us if we are going to accept that gift or not.

  84. 

    Wow!! what an amazing reminder! Reward before work always in the kingdom of God.
    I am glad I read this!! Thanks for the lovely word reminder.

  85. 

    I greet you all by the name of our Lord and savior , Jesus Christ . It is true that Grace it the base (foundation) of our salvation, without it we cannot have eternal life or life itself, our very existance is because of the grace of God ,but how it is offered to us is that through the death and ministration of christ i our behalf thus predestining a way for all to be saved ,by this love a way was made for our existance john 3:16, as christ taught there are two paths ,the narrow way which leads to life(justification) and the broad way which leads to death(condemnation), these paths are presented to an individual, who must then choose one of either. When He/she chooses life ,she/he must walk in the ways of life which are obedience , Abraham had to obey God and God said he did. But if he/she chooses death ,the way of disobedience through sin ,then the wages of sin is death. James tell us that faith without works is dead (the broad path) so in this regard christianity is centred on life giving principles as Jesus says ”enter throught the strait gate”. For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Belief prompts action

  86. 

    You are defiNately misunderstanding the whole concert of Christianity. You are using weak analogy. A better analogy is that Jesus God is like a father’s role. He loves you cuz you are his son. And guess what, you don’t get to heaven or love for free. You got to earn it. First rule is to believe Jesus died on the cross for you and to love him Permanently. If you quit in the middle of believing, you still don’t get the reward. If you don’t use actions to prove your faith and love, you still dont get the reward. You should study about Christianity before you judge it dude?

  87. 
    Namatirai Zinyohwera April 3, 2014 at 6:56 am

    You may man have a seriously empty argument enroll for philosophy classes they will teach you deep analysis which you lack here

  88. 

    The flip side of this is that you could be the best person in the world, but if you believe in the wrong god or no god, Jesus will light you on fire after you die and let you burn for eternity. Yes, it’s true; God loves you so much he created hell just in case you don’t love him back. :)

    Anyway, if I was writing and article with this title it would go more like this…

    God knocks up a teenage girl so he can be born as a human and eventually sacrifice himself to himself to give us a loophole to rules he created but can’t circumvent. Then, he cheats and comes back to life which means he never really sacrificed anything in the first place.

    Oh yeah, and he doesn’t want you to masturbate either.So, you know, don’t.

  89. 

    very cute way to take another angle on Justification. Here is another way. What are the two main illustrations in all of scripture regarding our relationship with God? I would say it is marriage and adoption. Look at those two examples and Justification is not bizarre…it is beautiful, logical, and very inviting. In both you give all the love and acceptance on the front end with no works needed. It is logical that works flow out from one to another in such a situation, especially when the love is so strong!

    I wish the world understood this better.

  90. 
    individual rights born from instinct April 3, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    That’s funny! You are gunna hear from the xtian nazi’s on that one…the mindless brainwashed peasants that is.

  91. 

    Ya, agree , it doesn’t make sense. It’s liken to parents who love their son so much before their son proof himself to be worthy of time and money spent on him. The parents are crazy!

  92. 

    hi guys..first of all i find it realy amazing that people from different walks of life,are taking their time to read and share views.and thats because,this issue is controversial.i pray that our Lord will speak to us all.
    first,im not afraid,or shy to say that Jesus is the only way to the father,though not all will accept this.we cannot understand God and everything he says well,not all of us,atleast.but one thing i do understand is that i am just desperate,and broken at heart for the sake of the plight of men in this place.as someone said,if you dont see and feel the extent of our fallen nature,and that of this world,to the point that you see it everywhere,everyday,you wont see the need of a savior,and of believing in anything the Savior says.
    another thing i thank God i came to understand is that God is love(and ofcourse just,jealous etc),and thats why even murderers can be saved,if he repents and surrenders to Christ.im not saying that my mind is not at all troubled by such a view but who understands the mind of God that he may give Him counsel?i also should say that a yielded heart will strongly desire to please its maker.works will happen even without you intending,once you give your heart to Jesus.
    Finally,on a sad note,it is heart-wrenching to see the hardness of heart of many.one thing,sadly,that will fully convince many(and i pray that it wont be so) is death.Everyone has a choice,to believe or to reject the truth of salvation,and the entire word of God,with all its ‘absurd’ connotations..since death will come to us all,if Jesus tarries,i believe everyman will stand before this God,and see Him for ourselves.my tears flow for all,close and far-off,that all may believe;take hold of this grace that saves,and live with the father in joy,eternally.God bless,Sam and all my sisters and brothers in faith,see you all in HEAVEN:)

  93. 

    Reblogged this on Kittens with Mittens and commented:
    By the means of Grace, acceptance is all that is required and even that is not really necessary.

  94. 
    Not a Christian April 4, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    I am not Christian and Jesus was a bastard born from a whore who cheated on her husband and then sold the Bonnet Carre Spillway Bridge to a bunch of stupid people.

    However, what you use as proof is ridiculous. When making an argument, you must argue from the viewpoint of your opponent — in this case, Christians.

    Jesus, according to Christians, has all of God’s capabilities. Therefore, Jesus does know you because God knows everything, including all of your thoughts.

    If you wish to show how stupid Christianity is, point out how all they have to do to earn reward is go to church once a week. They can have abortions and gay sex, as long as they go to church and confess everything — they go straight to heaven.

    More like saying I do to an abusive psychopath, or hiring a person with two arms missing to be the pitcher in baseball.

    • 

      Not a Christian: Going to church is not what gets Christians into Heaven. Striving to live for God, love God above all else, serve him, follow him and his commandments, having faith that He is our Savior, and giving our lives to him is what gives Christians eternal life. Yes Christians must confess their sins before God, but living with the mindset of “Oh I can do this sin and this sin and this sin etc. as long as I confess my sin to God because He will forgive me” is not a correct mindset for Christians to have. That is abuse of God’s grace, and I would argue that if that is a “Christian’s” mindset, they may not really be a true Christ follower. The correct mindset for Christians is to strive not to sin, and repent when we do. That means turning away from our sin, and striving to sin no more.

      Bottom line…going to church doesn’t get Christians into Heaven.

    • 
      Edward A. Hara April 20, 2014 at 9:56 pm

      Why is it that all the anti-Christian bigots are closet sociopaths who cannot spell properly or use the King’s English in a correct manner?

  95. 
    Lords servant April 4, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Don’t ever confuse jusus ,, with Christianity ,,, god dosnt aprove of homosexuality ,, thats why he created Adam and Eve ,,my lord and savior would never approve of this !!! It’s the evil doers that run ya life letting this happen ,, it’s all start wit the Catholic Church ,, secrete tower of babalon woe to you sath The Lord ,,

  96. 

    It is one of the greatest blessings when we finally understand God’s grace and learn to walk in it. Our desire to live rightly, not because we want to earn God’s favor, but because we appreciate His love for us and want to live in His love. It also helps us face the dark things in our lives without fear that He will reject us. He knows our darkness and still loves us. A true understanding also challenges us to not indulge in the darkness, but grow out of it.

  97. 

    Think of God’s love like a parent’s love. When ur born, don’t your parents love you before everything you do in life? Even if u mess up they will still love you. They may not be pleased with things you do but they’ll still be there for you and try to support you the best way they can. So much more is God’s love for us. Every scenario you described is not comparable.

  98. 

    You missed the first group that Jesus started in Christianity when writing this, the Roman Catholic Church. We are not once saved, always saved like many evangelical protestants erroneously believe. . Here is what we believe in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

    http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p123a12.htm#1021

    http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/para/2005.htm

    http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/para/1815.htm

  99. 
    Fesseha Atlaw April 7, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    It is amazing how you have understood the message of Christianity– That Eternal life is not free ..and we do not contribute any things towards our salvation…. It costs. Jesus paid it all !!! All you need to do is admit your guilt and inadequacies and accept what Jesus is offering you and you got it ! However that are some things you need to know.

    1- You can’t fake it–You really have to believe you are a sinner and desperately needing the gift
    2- If you have faked it (as many do) your life will not reflect it. Whom more is given gives more… You would see other’s thru Jesus’ eyes— Gently; kindly; non-judgmentally— forgiving others infinitely ; This shows that you truly grateful for God’s gift and appreciate the meaning of the “Justification by faith alone” means. Jesus had said… It is possible to “fake” Christianity..saying all the right things and acting the right way before people….

    21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7:21-23

    In other words—” You were fake…If your acceptance was real your life would have showed it ! ” If you understand how much God loves you and he sent Jesus to take the punishment for not meeting His standards— You will never take salvation for-granted—

    No, Christianity is not messed-up. But I agree it works backwards. You get the free gift first and spend the rest of your life showing you are grateful; You will never be perfect–you don’t need to be —just be real ! That is how this amazing gift works…

  100. 
    Humanitarian Charles Palmer April 9, 2014 at 1:41 am

    The sooner our world cuts religion out of its circles of humanity, the sooner the world will become a better place for all to live in harmony. Religion, especially christianity, has caused more damage to the lives of people than what any war can do. It causes major division and does not create any united provision. Earth has been given to the human race as a whole, to build and to live under human conditions, not religious conditions. Christians must stop playing this type of God, pointing fingers and condemning others who do not believe in their stupid destructive belief. They talk about loving their neighbour, but seeing the growth of people suffering under the shadow of poverty, makes it clear that christians know absolutely nothing about love. The only ones they love is themselves and many times this is not even seen. uni

    • 

      Humanitarian Charles Palmer, there is another viewpoint on some (not all) of the objections you raised. I would be interested in your opinion if you are so inclined: http://rawfruitblog.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/we-do-what-were-told-or-how-to-be-your-own-robotic-sheep/

    • 

      Humanitarian, it sounds like you’re pointing fingers and condemning Christians, which is what you say that we should not do. That seems like a double-standard. While I will admit that there have been a lot of bad Christians, I would hope that you would admit that there have been a lot of bad non-Christians. The truth is, whether your a Christian or not, you’re “bad.” And Christianity offers a solution to the “badness.” I appreciate your concern to the welfare of humanity, but ridiculing someone else’s solution is still not a solution.

      • 

        Why should we be bad?! Why does G-d say if you don’t do it my way then I will punish you forever. Are you saying that before Christ there were no good people doing good things for their fellow man? What if you are a good person. You lie, you admit your wrong. You get angry you apologize to those you’ve offended. You live life. THEN…you die and Jesus says you didn’t believe in me. BOOM you are in hell forever.

        Can I call BS?

        OKAY but if G-d created this whole world, and the rules there in, then essentially he created bad/sin? Romans 9:21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? And for that matter didn’t G-d choose to make hell?

        Everyone talks about love….but in the end of the day no one asked G-d to create a system for eternal life. If G-d really loved me, he’d let me be life would end after death.

    • 
      Edward A. Hara April 20, 2014 at 9:54 pm

      Your statement is pure nonsense. In the last century alone we have seen what a world without religion is capable of. Let’s look at the numbers, shall we?

      Stalin 70 Million murdered, give or take a few million

      Mao 70 Million murdered

      Hitler 6 Million murdered directly. Responsible for a war that killed millions more.

      Pol Pot Around 4 million murdered. He wasn’t keeping up with the Joneses.

      Numerous other non-religious dictators have also thrown in their millions.

      As for your statements about love….there is no other organization which does as much for the poor and needy as the Catholic Church through its various agencies. The sum of money they spend to help the poor every year is staggering.

      Your post shows you to be nothing more than an ignorant bigot of the worst sort.

  101. 

    Reblogged this on Pint-sized Philosophy and commented:
    Don’t let the title fool you. This is a very thought-provoking blog from Hope Stand’s, Sam Kee. Great read and very inspiring!

  102. 

    Eh I don’t agree with the argument stated here. It’s all twisted. I think I could explain it much better. The situation is more like dealing with somebody convicted to life in prison. They receive a full pardon for their crimes, but must live the rest of their lives to to show they are worthy of this pardon. You receive forgiveness and are automatically in God’s good graces once you accept Jesus. You receive that pardon from “life in prison.” Now if you live your life as a hypocrite through your thoughts and actions, well that pardon you received will no longer help you. To hell it is.

  103. 

    Well…. that was a waste of time. Next time, before generalizing and saying all of this applies to all of Christianity, qualify it (so as not to confuse heresies with Truth) and say something to the effect of, “Fundamentalists Christianity”. What you described doesn’t even begin to cover what the 40,000+ denominations of Christianity believe and falsely represents THESE particular beliefs as the truths of Justification. This is Fundamentalists (20th century theology) only. This accounts for about 15% of Christians. Though, some of this is good, the core of it is as far off as one could get. I won’t get into all of the differences theologically, but this is a poor essay at best. I’m sure you are familiar with at least a handful of other denominations and their beliefs–so don’t generalize this and apply this to all Christians. As a Christian, I would be embarrassed for anyone to think THIS is what I am speaking of when I say I am a Christian.

  104. 

    The biggest thing I don’t vibe with is a.) no one is good in and of themselves and b.) if you don’t accept G-ds gift you’re going to hell. Whaaaaattttssss up with that? You can talk about sin and how none of fit the bill so we need Jesus. BUT DIDN’T G-D CREATE HELL? So…my question is why doesn’t G-d just leave us alone after we die. If he loved me that much then let me live and die and let that be it. Why does G-d need to be worshiped forever? Cue christian jargon and lingo…

  105. 

    Great perspective, but the wages of work is not death. It’s the wages of SIN that is death. Sin is simply missing the mark. Keep working. But know He has already paid the price for us!! We have nothing to earn. Indeed His love is free. Thank God for that :)

    • 

      Meh…. I don’t buy it. G-d chose to create a place to send sinner…according to the bible and if you don’t do everything he says you go to this place. So it’s more of a do what I tell you to do or your damned.

  106. 

    What’s weird is that Kee doesn’t realize how screwed up this little missive is.

    He rightfully compares justification-by-faith to a litany of plainly screwed up things… then argues that, because it’s >>>a religion<<< promoting a morally questionable stance, this magically, uh, *proves the truth* of the doctrine. He's righter than he realizes, that Christianity really *is* *that* screwed up.

    It's like saying that robbing banks is bad, lifting wallets is bad, dredging public fountains at night for wishing coins is bad… but if my church ritualistically pays its members monies illicitly siphoned off charitable collections, the fact of religious in-group self-identification magically flips that deed from being a nasty moral liability to a transcendent virtue.

    I hung out in a fundamentalist church when I was a lad, and the preacher once made the same error in a sermon: He said that there's no doctrine more despised in the business world than, "It's not *what* you know, it's *who* you know." He then went on to marvel at how–somehow, in his twisted mind, don't ask me how–when you get to heaven, this little truism is engraved in gold and posted above the throne of God.

    Kee needs to reread his piece, go back to the drawing board, and try again.

    And–since it appears the writer has a penchant for thought-experiments–let me give him one.

    Think about it: What kind of personality is going to be attracted to this kind of church; a church where you go, once a week, to receive preachings and "fellowship" that reinforce this kind of moral mischief? You don't have to think very hard to realize that you're going to attract sociopathic types who sniff out opportunities to hobnob with people who've internalized morally confused values, like those reflected in the twisted syllogism spelled out in this piece.

    • 

      Ron Zajac, your comment appears to be generated out of malicious bitterness, rather than reasoned response. It is a shame that you were mistreated in your fundamentalist background. It certainly happens a lot, to Christianity’s discredit. You have every right to respond angrily to Kee’s post, but unfortunately you decided to tell him how messed up his piece is and how his thought experiment doesn’t hold up. You attack him for trying to “prove” the truth of a doctrine, when he in fact did no such thing. He simply stated “If you are going to make fun of Christianity, you might as well hit it in its gut.” His intention throughout was clear: the grace of God appears ridiculous and scandalous to us, because God is so ready to forgive. No “proof” involved; simply the invitation to attack Christianity’s “soft underbelly”, so to speak. Kee also does not state that if one performs legally and morally objectionable acts, that said acts suddenly become righteous (your term was “transcendent virtue”) because you subscribe to a belief system. He said you are FORGIVEN; big difference there. God forgives, but he also requires restitution for harmful offenses. The person is justified, not the wicked act. You also claim to give him a “thought experiment” at the end, but merely succeed in condemning an entire group of people by the fallacious use of poisoning the well. The reality is, there have been many highly intelligent, kind, self-sacrificing individuals throughout history who believe this sort of preaching, who have accomplished acts of profound good for humanity.

      • 

        I was sampling the comments, and found that a lot of them don’t even address what Kee actually said. At least, I do. What’s unreasoning about that?

        Also, your “You might as well hit it in the gut,” comment: Well… Yeah! Are you faulting me for hitting it in the gut?

        It’s interesting. From time to time, you find a preacher who, to their credit, dangles the central moral vulnerabilities of evangelical, “bible-based” Christianity right out there, bleeding, over the shark tank. They think this willingness to (as I said above) shine a bright light on these doctrines redeems their vulnerabilities and confers righteousness unto a plainly misbegotten belief system. R.W.Emerson said that if the light you shine on your subject is bright enough, it becomes beautiful. Well, not always, Ralphie!

        I remember a time that I was visiting a fundie church, and the pastor had written a very exacting, detailed exegesis of certain events chronicled in one (both?) of the OT chapter of Kings. These sermon transcripts were in a neat pile near the front door, and I picked one up and read it. And it was *all* there, hanging out, in its messed up glory: Jehovah holding the Jews to a bad-faith agreement with a supposedly isolated nomadic family; passing judgement on Jews using the juridical standards of another tribe (so much for the fundie scourge of “cultural relativity”!); and other very questionable stuff. One could almost ponder the possibility that the pastor thinking was along these lines: “Is there any plainly repugnant narrative from the Bible to which The Faithful *aren’t* capable of remaining oblivious?”

        You backpedal on Kee’s behalf (saving his face, I guess) and cite the view that our actions *do* count–and I’m aware that Christ also preached this. But, unfortunately, this serves to show one of the techniques of bad religion: Kee preaches a gospel of moral unaccountability UNTIL someone calls him on the bullshit, whereupon others come running to his rescue, whipping out aces of accountability hidden up their sleeves, and the folks filling the pews *still* get to take or leave that ace. As long as they stay in those pews, it doesn’t really matter much!

  107. 

    Jesus made you! He knew you before you even knew yourself he knows everything about you, your past present and future! Christianity is not messed up at all. Were all children of God. You don’t have to earn Jesus love because he already loves you, its your choice weather you want to accept it or not… Yes after you are saved you are supposed to do good deeds but in the sense of turning away from sin. You can’t think and look at Jesus in a earthly sense…

    • 

      Ron, you will notice I did not “fault” you for “hitting it in the gut”. Actually, you still have not addressed the issue that Kee actually wrote about, which is that Christianity offers pardon to people who ask forgiveness, and that God has provided it freely. You do not believe in that at all, which is your choice. Obviously you and I would not agree on a great many issues. I do agree with you on one point, however: People in pews have the freedom to choose what they believe and accept, as do you or any other free rational human being.

      • 

        Y’know, Jeffrey, I don’t think we’re really all that far apart. My point is perhaps not so much that Kee is “wrong”,as much as that his analogy is clumsy. How clumsy? Not just clumsy enough to fail, but clumsy enough to actually backfire, by inadvertently shedding light on one of the failures of this “core” doctrine of Christianity. It start out being a call to embracing grace, and ends up–for many, many self-identifying “Christians”–being the doorway to a shocking sense of moral entitlement and subsequent spiritual degradation.

        Your last statement shows me that you, in some measure, understand exactly what I’m talking about. I hope you understand that the foregoing doesn’t imply that I’m oblivious to grace. I can’t thank you enough for your thoughtful and compassionate replies to my posts.

    • 

      Again I ask why do I need Jesus. G-d chose to create a heaven and hell… I didn’t ask for that. If G-d really loved me after death there would be nothing. Why does G-d need us to spend forever with him? To me, Jesus “love” is a ball and chain…everyone says he loves you OKAY but if you don’t accept him you burn forever in the lake of fire.

      • 

        Ron, you are very welcome, and from your last comment I “get” a little better what you are saying! I still think Kee’s analogy makes sense, but you have valid points. And bottom line, we are all struggling seekers.

        I would love to continue our conversation, from time to time as you see fit. Obviously not on this blog; to do so would seem a bit forward, kind of like walking into someone else’s living room, plopping down on their couches and chatting away!

        If you are inclined, send me an email at jeffrey@jeffreypelton.com or shoot me a comment on one of my blogs; probably the best of those for that is http://rawfruitblog.wordpress.com. (Not trying to self-promote; just want to give you options).

        Always a pleasure to connect with someone new. Keep pressing forward.

  108. 

    Reblogged this on If clay had lips… and commented:
    I approached this, sure that I had heard every objection to Christianity in the book, and not knowing what to expect. It took me by surprise.

  109. 
    The Honest Voice April 16, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    First mistake “The wages of our SIN is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” before you go quoting the bible please check that you have quoted it correctly. You can not change the meaning of a quote and say it is from the same source. The wages of our work is not death because (unless your work is evil) work is encouraged in the bible. What you have said has given me a stronger belief in God because it makes me realize that he does not care what I have done, he does not care what I will do he has already forgiven me and he will always love me. If thats your strongest point against christianity and it is a reason you don’t believe in God I honestly can say that i do not in any way understand your point of view. Your post just means that you have no understanding of God’s knowledge. He knows the past present and the future and he can and does still love you. He has forgiven you of things you have done, are doing, and will do. I don’t understand how that pushes you away from God???

  110. 
    Nest Full of Birds April 19, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    Reblogged this on Nest Full Of Birds and commented:
    No, we don’t.

  111. 
    Edward A. Hara April 20, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    Ah, yes! The heretical doctrine of “Forensic Justification” aka “Jesus Paid It All So I Have A First Class Ticket Immediately to Heaven.”

    Got news for ya, dude. The Greek in the book of Romans (the favorite of Evangelicals to try to prove this heretical little teaching)

    DOES
    NOT
    SUPPORT
    THIS
    TEACHING!

    You better check out Matthew 25: 31-46, Romans 2: 5-10, and John 5: 28-29. All of these passages show all mankind at the Judgment Seat of Christ — the good (righteous) and the bad (wicked). All are judged according to the works they have done, not according to your “faith alone” heresy or whether they had “right doctrine.” Those who co-operated with God’s grace and did good works receive the inheritance of eternal life. Those who didn’t — don’t.

    It’s that simple.

    • 

      Edward… “cooperated with God’s grace”??? Really? I can’t think of a bigger contradiction. Grace is grace. It’s not merit. Grace, by definition is free. No works necessary. The gospels and the whole New Testament make it clear that nobody was there to help Jesus on the cross, to get him through, to “cooperate.” Jesus never said, “Now you be good and try real hard while I’m being bludgeoned on the cross for your sins, or you won’t get the grace I am freely giving to you.”

      • 

        Hi Hope Stands…

        Do you differentiate between believing and following Jesus?
        I.e when you believe in Jesus must you also follow Him or not?

        Regards

      • 

        Another great question, Nio. Yes, I differentiate between believing and following. It’s not enough just to believe in Jesus. But, you have to follow him or trust him. True belief is actually following Jesus. A better way of thinking about both “belief” and “following” is love. When you love someone, you not only believe in them, but also your life changes because of them. Love touches your whole life. We are called to receive Jesus’s love for us and then respond to him with love.

  112. 

    You are so simple minded you made me laugh. refreshing, amusing insights. x

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  117. 

    I hope when u were growing up, your parents did not say things like,”Son, we will begin to love u once u’ve completed the housework and brought in the distinctions for your school examinations.” And if u do have kids of your own, I hope they’ll be made to feel loved by u unconditionally. Of course, in the material world, I still believe that one shouldn’t be paid for no real work done. That includes permanently living on unemployment benefits. But this is a completely different matter so to liken the idea of being “rewarded” before any work done to Christianity (or unconditional love) is totally inappropriate.

  118. 

    Wonderful words to thank the Lord for you.
    First I I was not born in a Christian family, births in Lebanon in the southern suburbs, a Hezbollah stronghold, and are a devout Muslim like Shiites and hate sina, like Iran and hate America and Israel, you hate Christians, you washed your brain, I did not know any real feelings I was thinking in jihad and martyrdom.
    In 2008, I got to know Christ have shock in Islam and how my family turned on and became want to kill me.
    The Lord Jesus gave me a real life thank him.
    I ran away and became a wait for me in Turkey are approved by My I ask for the UN get out quickly from Turkey, but not less than 7 years.
    My prayer for me
    Will not know what dear to the American people when they inspected the
    America is nor the Lord Jesus, there is no America.
    I hope to wake up.

  119. 

    Hi Pastor Sam…

    I’m just wondering do you think that Mormons and Jehovah witness are saved?
    They also believe in Jesus you know.

    • 

      Nio, thanks for your question. God tells us that everyone has the same opportunity to be saved. God saves all kinds of people, including Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses, but only if they become Christians. The only way for anyone to be saved is by grace through faith in Jesus. Jesus alone saves us.

  120. 

    Riddle me this..If God is so awesome, all-knowing, can see the future and past, why in God’s name did he let Eve eat the fruit from the tree of life? He put it there, He let Eve eat the fruit and blames humanity for it? This coming from someone who is supposedly all-merciful, all-loving and everything nice.

    Ponder that.

    • 

      It is specifically for those things that He gave us free-will, what would be the point to be all those things you stated and then also take away your freedom to choose those things.

      God knew that was going to happen, which is why He told them, ie Adam and Eve not to partake of the fruit specifically because He knew they were going to. But God, in His complete love for us gave us free-will and choice, to make those choices that lead to Him but obviously we don’t always make those right choices that takes us away from Him.

      If you want to think of it another way, our parents should love us and they tells us what we shouldn’t do, whether we pay attention to what they are saying is completely on us. I’m sure our parents would wish sometimes that they could protect us from all the bad decisions we make, but then that would stop us from growing and learning from those lessons.

      So it is much the same for God, He loves us so much that He makes that hard choice to not confine us in safe little bubbles but allows us to experience life in fullness, both the good and the bad so that we in turn can grow and mature.

      • 

        Hi Wilfred,

        Thank you for your response. It is the same answer I have from Christians I have talked to. Do allow me to continue with some questions from my perspective as a disillusioned Christian.

        In that regards, knowing how things will develop in the future into the kind of ‘shit-hits-the-fan’ situation we have today with everyone killing each other and people dying, how do you justify that as freedom to choose? and how does that point to God as a merciful?

        Where is the justice and fairness when mothers today experience the pain and suffering from childbirth due to the ‘free choice’ taken by Eve in the beginning? Do mothers today have a choice of free will in that regard?

        Let’s take it another level, it was because of Adam and Eve that humanity was separated from God in Paradise. How do you pin the blame on the generations that followed them after when they did not have a choice in the actions that was taken by the forefathers before them and call it free will?

        In Juxtaposition, it’s kind of like a catch-22 situation where God created us to have free will, but as God, he already knows what kind of decision we’ll make as He is the Alpha and Omega but he still created us to go through life.

        So, is there really free will or are we just puppets living out a plan that is already laid out to us and is clear in God’s eyes what will happen in the future? If that is the case, wouldn’t it have been better if we were not created at all?

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