I want to talk about something quite controversial today. I know it goes a little against the grain but it’s on my heart to talk about so here goes!
I want to start by asking you 2 question’s. Answer them honestly, pray about them and consult your bible should you need to. I want you to answer them once at the beginning of this blog post, and once at the end. Depending on the answers you give, you may find yourself quite challenged during this blog post. I pray the spirit of the Lord is with you and reveals his truth to your heart. I would love to hear from anyone who this post impacts, but of course if you’re not comfortable sharing I pray this post will bring you closer to the father and that his light may shine through you and bring him glory.
My question’s to you are these;
1) Are we solely saved by faith in Jesus Christ?
2) What is required of us to be called a disciple of Jesus?
Now, I don’t pretend to know everything, or believe that I am right and any who share a contrary view are wrong. Precisely the opposite, My greatest fear is being wrong and displeasing the Father. Before I write anything, I wait for the Father to reveal his truths to me and invite him into the writing and editing process right here alongside me. For, where I fall short, the Father does not! His message is so clear in my heart right now I feel compelled to share it with you! Understand, this information neither serves my own agenda, or makes my life any ‘easier’. There is no hidden agenda and I am certainly not trying please myself to make being a Christian any easier on myself. In fact my life would be much easier believing my salvation rested solely on the shoulders of belief in Jesus Christ. However I have learnt the meaning of ‘no servant is greater than their master’ John 15:20. And as Jesus did, and commands, so too must we.
Firstly I want to start by explaining that I am a disciple of Jesus and so all scripture quoted in this post will be the words of Jesus. For Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through him. John 14:6.
Now to begin.
I want to dispute the position of Christians who believe that, no matter their actions in this life they are forgiven because they have Faith in Jesus Christ. (Controversial I know!) That regardless of how they treat others, live their life, or the loosely barren relationship they have with the Father they are safe under the umbrella of faith in Jesus which shields them from the repercussions their actions may warrant. Ultimately believing they are automatically forgiven and blameless. I know there are aspects of the Bible which point to this being the case but I want to draw people to the teachings of Jesus in which he is clear that to be recognised as his disciple and ‘in the vine’ there are ways in which one must distinguish oneself which ultimately shows us to be a disciple of Jesus.
John 15:1-17 records Jesus saying;
I really love this passage, as it is such a clear message from Jesus, when often his teachings took the form of parables. Very clearly Jesus declares:
Clear as day: If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love.
Faith in Jesus definitely comes first, it enters us into the vine. However, in order to stay in it we must live by Jesus’s commands.
So, what are Jesus’s commands to his disciples?
to our our don’t love ourselves
“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way as you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
At no point did Jesus ever elude to our words and actions being consequence free, in fact quite the opposite. Jesus told that it is not what enters into our bodies which defile us, but what comes out of them!
“What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”
Jesus freely gave healing and forgiveness to all who asked for it, as is the amazing grace and faithfulness of the Father! Jesus’s departing words were often “sin no more.” If faith in his Holy name was all that is required of us then why would Jesus teach otherwise?
I refer also to the testimony of Ian McCormack which I have shared on my previous blog post. God himself told Ian that he must live in a new light when he returns from heaven. Again I ask the question, If faith in Jesus’s Holy name was all that is required of us then why would God himself ask for anything else?
I am increasingly aware that this blog post will be quite long, I ask you to read the parables of Jesus as they all contain varying forms of the same message. Forgiveness , mercy, love And obedience to the Father. Two I would like to draw considerable attention to are; The parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 in which the master gives talents to his servants , with expectancy of considerable profits. The second is that of the wedding banquet parable in Matthew 22 in which many are invited, few are chosen. Those not clothed correctly are thrown out. In heaven our clothing is that of the spirit. We must wear what pleases God. Humility, kindness, love, faithfulness, joy, forgiveness, peace, patience, self-control and goodness (As per the fruits of the spirit and Jesus’s commands.)
Finally I leave you with the message of Repentance from Matthew 3:2, Mark 1:15, and Matthew 4:17. This is a crucially important aspect of discipleship. The biblical meaning of repentance, cited from the unlikely source of Wikipedia explains; “The repentance (metanoia) called for throughout the Bible is a summons to a personal, absolute and ultimate unconditional surrender to God as Sovereign. Though it includes sorrow and regret, it is more than that. … In repenting, one makes a complete change of direction (180° turn) toward God.”
Please remember that God’s Love, grace, mercy and forgiveness for those he loves, and whom love him is endless! Jesus’s message is that we are not above him (John 15:20) and as Jesus commands and does, so must we do also. On the days we unwittingly fail we are cradled with grace and mercy should we repent. However this is not an excuse to abuse God’s love and mercy by living our lives as we see fit, rather than as Jesus calls us to live. In order to know the Fathers will, and live in his will we must have a close personal relationship with him so that he can reveal his plan and purpose for our life. We cannot accept what we assume to be what he wants of us, as Jesus says in Matthew 7:22-23;I argue strongly that it is not enough to simply call Jesus the Lord of your life, you must live as his disciple in the way that pleases him, by keeping his commands.
Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
I look forward to your answers should you wish to share them.