Sunday, February 15, 2009

Do we have to Do anything to be saved?

Siesta Scripture Memory: February 15, 2009

Here is my Memory Verse for mid February:

"Then they asked him, 'What must we do to do the works God requires?' Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.'"-John 6:28-29


I know, to some, it is nothing short of blasphemy to suggest that God requires any works from us in order to 'obtain' salvation, and I am not suggesting otherwise...not really????... However, I struggle, as many theologically minded individuals might, with the balance in this question:
'What do WE need to DO to accept God's gift of salvation?'

Man has not the words, nor the understanding, to fully grasp the answer, or offer explanation, to this question. And I am not attempting to do that with this post, certainly not with any comprehensive presentation of thought.

But here is where I grapple, and here is what I have been pondering with my Lord:

When someone hands you a gift, and you have DONE nothing to earn it... you still must reach your hand out and DO something... you must accept it (a verb); You must actually take (a verb) the gift in order to have it.

In the case of our salvation, scripture makes it very clear that it is God ALONE who enables us to reach out and take His gift of eternal life. And He makes it clear that we cannot EARN this gift. Oh, how amazing is the grace.

I balance my memory verse, and these thoughts, with this ever wonderful scripture:
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." -Eph. 2:8-9 [emphasis mine]

I must be honest: I struggle with schools of thought that encourage you to "cross a line of faith," or "say a prayer consisting of this, this, and this... but you can say it however you would like," or anyone that points us to "this is the way you do it," or even the "all you need to do is this..." Scripture has more often pointed me to something Bigger, not these Works,... and they are works.

"This is the way you get saved." Oh, no. no. no. HE is the only Way. And He cannot be contained. Our Jesus is much bigger than any formula that we formula-minded humans can conjure.

But, as I am currently pouring over the scriptures on this subject, and the recurrent theme that Christ never backs down from is this "To-Do" list:

"Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned." -Mark 16:16

"That if you confess 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 confess and are saved." -Rom. 10:8-10

"Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?'" -John 11:25-26

Believe.
Do you believe?
He asks it of us.

And He himself tells us we must DO this in order to be saved.

not my words.
His.

and not a formula. but, a Trust. a Belief. a Love.

So, back to my memory verse:"Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.'" -Jn. 6:28-9 [emphasis mine]

Christ, himself, calls "believing in Him" a "work." hmmmm. interesting. huge. beautiful.
His Ways are not our ways.....

Search your own Bible for more. Bring Him your deepest of questions. He has been answering mine....

8 friends had a thing or two to say...:

mama's smitten said...

I'm so blessed to have come across your blog. Although I have always believed in God I have just recently come to the understanding that I not only need to believe in him but I must also believe him. I struggle when my faith is questioned or challenged. I am still learning so the words to explain this amazing presence in my life sometimes hard to conjure up. Is it wrong to assume if the there is no logical explanation that it is okay? Is that faith really is? I know I tend to get flustered and sometimes frustrated and annoyed when I can't verbalize my new found spirituality. I am young in this and hoping that this is just part of the journey. Thank you for sharing . You have obviously made me feel that I can share with you. Thank you :)

He And Me + 3 said...

That was beautiful. I love it when you search and find the answers. Great post, and I agree.

Blessed Mom of 8 said...

Darlene,

You know we are like twin sisters separated at birth - LOL!

I have been writing about this very topic and pondering it for over a year.

People - even sweet Christians want to add something to what God says. It is JESUS + NOTHING! Nothing about you and nothing about me. NOTHING = NOTHING!

The more we try to add in anything that is where it begins of our separation from grace and faith!

Hugs and love - keep pressin in and on!
Jill

Angela said...

Thank you so much for covering our spirit's with the Word of God this morning..((hugs))

Flamingo Mama said...

i completely agree....the "sinner's prayer" has added to so much confusion.

i'm so excited to see how God is using your blog to help others to grow in their faith!

Darlene said...

Flamingo,
That is the greatest of compliments. Thank you, dear friend!

Dar

~ Lisa @ AbidingThere~ said...

This is a great post. Thank you. :)

Christine said...

Darlene, I love this post and your thoughts...it's as though you are thinking aloud on paper and you allow us to follow along.

The scripture states that even the devil and his demons believe, are they saved? I think you are correct in stating, the gift is there…we need to reach out and take it. That is a work I can deal with!...lol

Great Post!