Jesus Saves - Action Required

Often as you listen to preachers engaged in preaching on the radio and TV, you'll hear the phrase "Jesus Saves". Then they might launch into how they think Jesus saves quoting from various Bible passages that prove their particular viewpoint.

One of Christianity's most favorite passages is John 3:16. You will see it mentioned frequently with only the title, chapter and verse listed and without quoting the text. For those of you who do not have it memorized, here it is from the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
One of the reasons I feel this passage is such a favorite is that it packs a lot of punch. It not only "proves" (to the "infallible Bible" crowd) that Jesus is God's "one and only Son" but also points out "that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Since nearly all who call themselves Christians seem to nod their head in agreement at this passage, I am going to start here to examine the issue of, if Jesus saves, HOW does he save? I am going to quote from some of the passages that follow after the mentioned verse to defend my own beliefs and engage in some criticism of those with whom I disagree. I am not going to quote each and every following verse, not because I fear them, but only in an attempt to be brief. I encourage anyone interested read all the verses that follow John 3:16 for themselves, they can be found on the internet.

Many preachers like to preach that Jesus saves through "grace". That it is by grace ALONE that one is saved. They can quote from many passages of scripture to defend their beliefs. They preach that merely believing Jesus was the Saviour is the only action required and that no further action (they often use the term Good Works) are required after that to get into heaven. They criticize any sect of Christianity that encourages good deeds (or again good works) from their congregations. No, no, no they will almost scream. We are saved by grace alone and good deeds will not get anyone into heaven. No action required.

John 3:19 states:

"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil."
Notice the word "deeds" is mentioned; "because their deeds were evil." Lets see... men loved darkness because their deeds were evil, but if instead they had loved the Light, their deeds would have been? What? Still evil?

Or how about this one? John 3:21:
"But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."
Notice here the use of the word "lives" as in "whoever lives by the truth comes into the light". Seems to me that living by the truth calls for a little bit more action then just "thoughts" or "beliefs" that Jesus was the Son of God.

It is still my belief that it might be easier for a "good" atheist to get into heaven then it could be for an "evil" Christian to get in there. If an atheist "walks the walk" while the Christian "talks the talk", well.... After all, Jesus said it is easier to put a camel through the eye of a needle then for a rich man to get into heaven. So what verdict are all the rich Christians going to get when they approach the Pearly Gates? Do you think Jesus is going to give them credit as long as they tithed their 10% to the local mega church?

As a sidebar I wish to point out that it is nearly universal for preachers, even if they preach it is grace alone that gets you into heaven, to preach tithing (although they might not describe it as a "good work") is an action that is required. I think this is because their salary depends on it - grin.

My verdict? Jesus Saves - action required.


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