Daily Archives: January 16, 2008
If it wasn’t for the fact that Scientology flies directly in the face of everything I believe as a Christian, I might endorse Tom’s overall message. He’s touching on a lot of the issues that I’ve been covering–atheist misconceptions about how Christians think that the world works. Look at Ephesians 2:8-10:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (emphasis added)
We are saved, and truly in Christ, only by God’s grace. That grace is a free gift, and not based on works. If it were based on works, then grace is no longer free. Instead, we are saved by His grace through our faith in Christ (see Rom 10:9) plus nothing.
What about the works that I’ve highlighted? Simple: look at 1 John 5:1-3:
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
We obey out of love, not out of necessity. Obeying out of necessity is a curse to us–“Cursed be anyone who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them” (Deut 27:26). Studying all 613 (or so) laws of the Old Testament, I think that we can agree that it is impossible to do all of them. We’re going to mess up somewhere. And guess what happens if you mess up only once:
For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. (Jms 2:10-11)
But the point is we need to obey God. The idea is to do this out of love, not out of some perceived need to become saved. The Bible is quite clear that it is impossible to follow all of these 613 laws and live (see Jn 6 with the idea that bread = law).
Cruise has done a great job underscoring the necessity to help our fellow man for his Scientologist followers. Perhaps Christians should heed his words also: let’s do more to help our fellow man. Let’s do that, however, out of love and not out of the insane notion that it will get us in God’s good graces. We who are Christians are already in His good graces by His gift to us; our works cannot add anything to that salvation. But they can make the world a better place and that is the real point of doing them. We’re going to be here for a long time, and our children are going to live here after us. Let’s turn a better world over to them than what we started with.